Cold temperate to polar latitudes of the northern hemisphere
Nest on tundra; feed in freshwater and coastal waters
Order Anseriformes (water fowl), Family Anatidae (ducks, geese, and relatives)
King eiders eat a variety of invertebrate prey, diving for benthic mollusks and crustaceans. They also often enter fresh or brackish water to feed on insect larvae (especially caddisflies and midges), and they are known to eat some plant material when nesting.
Though the king eider is predominately marine, it nests inland on dry Arctic tundra. After returning from wintering grounds in southern fjords, these birds form relatively isolated breeding pairs. They reproduce via internal fertilization, and females lay fertilized eggs into nests directly on the tundra surface. Both males and females incubate the eggs and care for the chicks. When the king eider is not breeding, it spends much of its time associated with the ice edge. Though they isolate themselves during breeding, king eiders are quite social the rest of the year and can be observed in flocks of at least a thousand individuals.
The king eider is a common species throughout most of its range, but scientists believe the populations to be decreasing, likely a result of oil pollution, legal hunting, and other human threats. Populations are still high enough for scientists to consider this species one of least concern, but with continuing expansion of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, king eider populations may become more at risk of endangerment.
Engage Youth with Sailors for the Sea
Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids.
SUPPORT OUR WORK TO PROTECT THE OCEANS BY GIVING TODAY
With the support of more than 1 million activists like you, we have already protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean.
TAKE ACTION NOW
Support policy change for the oceans
Decision-makers need to hear from ocean lovers like you. Make your voice heard!
VISIT OUR ADOPTION CENTER
SYMBOLICALLY ADOPT AN ANIMAL TODAY
Visit our online store to see all the ocean animals you can symbolically adopt, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else.
DOWNLOAD OCEAN ACTIVITIES
HELP KIDS DISCOVER OUR BLUE PLANET
Our free KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) empower children to learn about and protect our oceans!