A Common Eider × King Eider Hybrid Captured on the Kent Peninsula, Nunavut

  • Sarah A. Trefry
  • D. Lynne Dickson
  • Andrea K. Hoover
Keywords: common eider, Somateria mollissima v-nigrum, king eider, Somateria spectabilis, hybrid, body measurements, Kent Peninsula, Nunavut


On 25 June 2002, we captured and recorded measurements of a male common eider (Somateria mollissima) × king eider (S. spectabilis) hybrid at Nauyak Lake, on the Kent Peninsula, Nunavut. This is the first documented capture of a hybrid eider, rarely observed in North America. Structural body measurements and mass of the hybrid were intermediate compared to those of Pacific common eiders (S. m. v-nigrum) at the same study site and king eiders at a nearby study site during the same time of year. The plumage of the captured hybrid had characteristics of both parent species. Mate pairing on overlapping spring staging or wintering areas of common and king eiders may occasionally result in hybrid offspring.