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Spectacled Eider Somateria fischeri
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type continent
Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 568,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 754,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 8.6 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated at c.330,000-390,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006). Although a massive decline of over 90% in breeding birds has been reported in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska (Stehn et al. 1993), no similar decline has been noted in Russia and 155,000 birds were counted on its wintering grounds in 1995 (Balogh 1996). The population in Russia has more recently been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals (Brazil 2009) although there is a degree of uncertainty in these estimates. Surveys in north Alaska during 1993-1995 indicated 7,000-10,000 breeding birds, with no indication of a declining trend. Recent survey work has discovered a huge concentration of this species in the Bering sea south of St Lawrence Island (Petersen et al. 1999). Estimates suggest that at least 333,000 birds winter in single-species flocks in the pack ice of the Bering Sea (Petersen et al. 1999), representing a total population estimate similar to that of c.400,000 individuals made during the 1970s.
Trend justification: The overall trend is suspected to be decreasing (Wetlands International 2006).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Norway Vagrant Extant        
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Vagrant Extant        
USA Native Extant Yes      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Russia (Asian) Chaun delta site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Inchoun and Uelen lagoons site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Kytalyk site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Mechigmen bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Sireniki coast site factsheet
Russia (Asian) West Chaun plain site factsheet
USA Central Yukon-Kuskokwim site factsheet
USA East Norton Sound site factsheet
USA Ledyard Bay site factsheet
USA St Lawrence Island Polynya site factsheet
USA Western St Lawrence Island Marine site factsheet
USA Yukon River Delta site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Tundra Wetlands (incl. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food (human) Whole Eggs Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Somateria fischeri. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans)
Species name author (Brandt, 1847)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 568,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species