872. Somateria stelleri

872. Steller’s Duck.
Somateria stelleri (Pall.), Spic. Zool. fasc. vi. p. 35, Tab. v. (1769) ; (Gould), B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 25 ; (Middend.), Sib. Reise, p. 234, Taf. 23, figs. 3, 5 (eggs) ; Newton, P.Z.S. 1861, p. 400, pl. xxxix. fig. 4 (egg) ; Dresser, vi. p. 649, pl. 447 ; (Salvadori), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvii. p. 419 ; (Tacz.), F. O. Sib. O. p. 1200 ; Saunders, p. 463 ; Lilford, vii. p. 127, pl. 54 ; (Bidgway), p. 108 ; Anas dispar, Sparrm. Mus. Carls, tabb. 7 and 8 (1786) ; Naum. xii. p. 240, Taf. 320 ; (Gould), B. of E. v. pl. 372 ; (Audub.), B. Am. vi. p. 368, pl. 407.
Scheck-ente, German ; Alforradare, Swed.
Male ad. (Norway). Top and sides of head and a collar encircling the back of the neck silky white ; a narrow line across the forehead, a loral spot, and an occipital patch dull olive-green ; feathers of the throat, and a line dividing the white collar and joining another broad band which encircles the neck, glossy blue-black tinged with purple, as are also the feathers round the eye, and a spot on each side of the nape ; back purplish blue-black ; scapulars elongated, blue-black, margined with white t wing-coverts white ; speculum bluish purple tipped with white ; inner¬most secondaries sickle-shaped and tipped with white ; quills and tail blackish brown ; under parts deep ferruginous inclining to buff on the upper breast and flanks ; middle of breast, abdomen, and under tail coverts black ; sides of upper breast marked with two distinct purplish blue spots ; bill plumbeous, the nail lighter ; legs and feet greyish brown, the webs darker ; iris brown. Culmen 1.45, wing 8.4, tail 3.5, tarsus 1.2 inch. The female has the head olive-brown tinged with rufous and marked with black ; upper parts dark brown mottled with rufous ; breast rusty brown spotted and barred with dusky ; abdomen sooty brown ; speculum duller than in the male ; falcate inner secondaries dusky.
Hab. Northern Siberia ; Kamchatka, south to the Kurile Islands in winter ; Alaska ; the Arctic coasts of North America to Davis Strait, but not common ; Western Greenland, rare ; of rare occurrence in Great Britain, the north coast of France, and Denmark, and in the Baltic, but commoner off the north-east coasts of Norway, and a regular winter visitant to the Varanger Fjord.
In general habits it resembles the Eiders. It breeds in Northern Siberia late in June, its nest being a deep depression in the moss of the tundra, well lined with down. The eggs, 7 to 9 in number, are similar in tone of colour to those of S. spectabilis but smaller, measuring 2.51 by 1.64.

A Manual Of Palaearctic Birds
Dresser, Henry Eeles. A Manual of Palaearctic Birds. Vol. 2. 1903.
Title in Book: 
872. Somateria stelleri
Book Author: 
H. E. Dresser
Page No: 
Common name: 
Steller’s Duck
Steller's Eider
Polysticta stelleri
Vol. 2

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