Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)


Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri)


French: Eider de Steller German: Scheckente Spanish: Éider menor

Anas Stelleri


, 1769,



Thought to have hybridized with Somateria mollissima#R. Monotypic.


Breeds on Arctic coasts of N Alaska W to Yamal Peninsula, Siberia; occasionally farther W, to extreme N Norway#R. Winters from S Alaska and Bering Sea S to N Japan, NE Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea.

Descriptive notes

42–48 cm; male 690–1010 g, female 625–970 g; wingspan 68–77 cm. The most Anas-like of the eiders due to its comparatively small size, lesser... read more


Male is considered to be relatively silent compared to other eiders (Somateria), but... read more


Breeds on Arctic pools, small lakes, rivers and tundra bogs, favouring moss-lichen polygonal tundra... read more

Food and feeding

Chiefly molluscs, crustaceans and other marine invertebrates (worms, echinoderms), small fish and freshwater insects and larvae. In Alaska... read more


Starts Jun/Jul, with first arrivals (already paired) on breeding grounds in early Jun and most birds reaching the nesting areas in mid Jun... read more


Migratory, with movements of up to 3000 km for moulting purposes: subadults first to moult,... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Common, locally abundant species with total world population estimated at c. 500,000 birds in early 1970s, but more recently at 110,000–125,000 individuals... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).