Status: Accidental in fall.
Documentation: Photograph: 10-24 Nov 1985 DeSoto NWR, Washington Co (Mollhoff 1989, Kent 1987, Cortelyou 1986).
Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Gill et al 2022).
Record: There is one record of two birds that remained at DeSoto NWR 10-24 Nov 1985 (Kent 1987); identification of the birds as King Eiders was discussed by Kent (1987).
Comments: There are numerous King Eider records along the Pacific and Altlantic Coasts and in the Great Lakes region (eBird.org, accessed Apr 2023). Mlodinow (1999) noted there were only eight King Eider records from the interior of western North America 26 Oct-27 Nov; most (five) are from the Canadian prairie provinces, and only two from the US, in Nebraska and Kansas. The latter is a specimen collected in Douglas Co, Kansas 27 Nov 1947 (Thompson et al 2011).
There are four Iowa records of King Eider, in the period 8-24 Nov (Kent and Dinsmore 1996), and one since, in Woodbury Co Mar 2000, apparently the only spring record for the Great Plains (eBird.org, accessed Apr 2023). Kent (1987) noted that King Eider might be expected to occur in the upper Midwest with more frequency than Common Eider, but that reports of Common Eider were surprisingly numerous, a point made also by Mlodinow (1999). Kent (1987) suggested that some early Common Eider specimens may have been misidentified, as some early records of Common Eider for Iowa were later shown to be in fact King Eiders.
NWR: National Wildlife Refuge
Cortelyou, R.G. 1986. The DeSoto NWR eiders. NBR 54: 81.
Gill, F., D. Donsker, and P. Rasmussen (Eds). 2022. IOC World Bird List (v 12.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.12.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
Kent, T.H. 1987. Eiders in Iowa. Iowa Bird Life 57: 88-93.
Kent, T.H., and J.J. Dinsmore. 1996. Birds in Iowa. Published by the authors, Iowa City and Ames, Iowa, USA.
Mlodinow, S.G. 1999. Common and King Eiders: Vagrancy patterns in western North America. Birders’ Journal 8: 235–242.
Mollhoff, W.J. 1989. Second report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 57: 42-47.
Thompson, M.C., C.A. Ely, B. Gress, C. Otte, S.T. Patti, D. Seibel, and E.A. Young. 2011. Birds of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2023. King Eider (Somateria spectabilis). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online
Updated 14 Apr 2023