King eider


King eider (Somateria spectabilis)

The King eider (Somateria spectabilis) is a large sea duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
King eider
German name:
French name:
Eider à tête grise
Scientific name:
Somateria spectabilis

Scientific classification




Male king eiders are one of the most ornately plumaged ducks in North America. In breeding plumage (late fall through midsummer), males sport a large orange yellow knob between their bill and forehead. Their forehead, crown, and nape is pearl blue, with iridescent pale green cheeks and a reddish orange bill. The lower portion of their head, neck, upper back, and breast is white with the remainder of the body black. The longest feathers along their upper flanks have triangular extensions that form a sail-like projection on their back.

Female king eiders in breeding plumage are mostly dark reddish brown with extensive black barring along their sides and flanks. Their bill is olive or yellowish-gray and lacks the knob that the male has. 

Dull grey brown, males gaining white breast and rump in late autumn and becoming darker above . Full adult plumage not tell third winter.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the King eider measures approximately 45-63 centimeters. The female measures approximately 45-63 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 1180-2085 gram. The female will weight about 1180-2085 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

King eiders have not been commonly kept and have only been bred sporadically. King eiders female builds a scrape nest on the ground, usually near water. She lines it with vegetation and down feathers from her own body. Eggs laying mainly from May to June.

Seaducks are generally winter-hardy and sociable. They are preferably kept on a large area of clean, cold, deep water, at least some of which (preferably half the area) should be more than 60cm and preferably more than1m deep. As with other diving ducks, most species are relatively ungainly on land and ponds should have shallow sloping banks. Some cover along the pond edges will generally be appreciated. Preferred nesting sites vary greatly within this group, from open ground nesting to thick vegetation and tree holes.



The female King eider usually lays from 4-5 pale olive eggs and incubates them for 22-23 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended leg band size for the King eider is 12 mm.
The leg band can only be applied on a young large sea duck at around 14 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it is good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Preferred food:
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit

Floatable special complete food for sea birds with the highest nutritional requirements. Each chunk contains the complete nutrient spectrum. The high protein content of 35% ensures a healthy and species-appropriate diet. Spiral algae give a more magnificent coloration of plumage and sea salt promotes the salt gland.

Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special

Floating special complete food for sea birds with the highest nutritional requirements thanks to a particularly high protein content of 45%.

Ideal for daily feeding in animals that eat a lot of protein in their natural habitat. A must for "fish eaters".

Photos of the King eider

Videos of the King eider