King Eider (Somateria spectabilis)
The King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) is a large sea duck that breeds along Northern Hemisphere Arctic coasts of northeast Europe, North America and Asia. The birds spend most of the year in coastal marine ecosystems at high latitudes, and migrate to Arctic tundra to breed in June and July.
The king eider is circumpolar, found throughout the Arctic. It breeds on the Arctic coast of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and Russia, using a variety of tundra habitats. It winters in arctic and subarctic marine areas, most notably in the Bering Sea, the west coast of Greenland, eastern Canada and northern Norway. Wintering birds can form large flocks on suitable coastal waters, with some flocks exceeding 100,000 birds. It also occurs annually off the northeastern United States, Ireland, Scotland and Kamchatka.
Due to its large population and vast range, the king eider is listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The king eider is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. (wikipedia)
We saw quite a few King Eider around Svalbard in the Barent's Sea and Arctic Ocean in June 2016. This quadruplet consisted of two males and two females. A truly beautiful bird and a delight to see.