A King Eider drake in breeding plumage is so outrageous looking, that it seems improbable.
But, yeah, that’s really what they look like, easily the most colorful of North American waterfowl. This is a sea duck, that comes ashore to nest in tundra ponds along the Arctic coast of North America, including Alaska. The Latin name for this species is Somateria spectabilis. The genus name Somateria is a combination of the Greek words sōma or sōmatos, meaning “body”, and erion, meaning “wool”; the combination, “wooly body,” is a reference to the eider’s famously thick, soft down. The species name, spectabilis is Latin for “showy”, “remarkable” or “worth seeing”, a reference to the handsomeness of the adult male’s plumage. So the Latin translates as “very showy wooly body.”
The King Eider hen (Queen Eider?) is less colorful but still beautiful:
You can see spectacular rafts of mixed Common and King Eiders off the coast of Kodiak Island most winters.
Camera geek stuff: f6.3, 1/640, ISO2000.
For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.