Spectacled Eider

Spectacled Eider male
Spectacled Eider female

Spectacled Eiders are small ducks that are recognizable for their unique “spectacled” faces. Males have a more prominent “goggles” feature on their white faces. The goggles outline their eye area in black.

They have greenish feathers at the back of their heads, and their bills are bright orange with white feathers extending up to the tip. Their upperparts are white, and their underparts are black. 

Females and juveniles have light brown heads and brown bodies with even darker barrings everywhere. The “goggles” or “spectacles” aren’t as prominent but are still slightly visible on the face. They also have dark bills. 

  • Somateria fischeri
  • Length: 20 – 23 in (51 – 58 cm)
  • Weight: 51.2 oz (1451 g)
  • Wingspan: 35 – 36 in (89 – 91 cm)


Spectacled Eiders breed in Alaska and eastern Russia and winter in the Bering Sea.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Spectacled Eiders along the open seas, coasts, and tundra (treeless plains in the Arctic) habitats. Their nesting sites are in small islands in lakes, particularly with grasses and marshes near the water’s edge. During the winter, they move to large breaks in the sea ice or polynyas.

In breeding grounds, Spectacled Eiders feast on a lot of insects, plants, and seeds. They will also dive to catch shrimp, snails, and clams. There are also plenty of mosses and sedges to eat. When they’re at sea, they feed on mollusks, clams, snails, and barnacles deep underwater. 

Spectacled Eider Calls:


Nests of Spectacled Eiders are usually found on small islands, pond shorelines, and hummocks (raised ridges). The female builds the nest with plant materials and her own downy feathers as lining. She will lay between three to six eggs which she solely incubates for about twenty-four days. When the eggs hatch, chicks are led to the water to find their own food. 

Fun Fact:

The Spectacled Eider molts at sea.