Fidelity of King Eiders (Somateria spectabilis) to breeding and wing molt sites was examined using satellite telemetry data obtained opportunistically when battery life of transmitters provided locations in a second year. Consecutive breeding locations were obtained for eleven female and 23 male King Eiders. All females exhibited breeding site fidelity by returning to sites within 15 km of first year breeding areas on the North Slope of Alaska. Breeding locations of males in a subsequent year were located on average >1000 km from their prior breeding sites and were primarily outside Alaska, on the coasts of Russia and Canada. Second-year wing molt locations were obtained for two female and six male King Eiders. Wing molt sites of males were located 6.2 ± 3.1 km apart on average in successive years, while female wing molt locations averaged almost 50 km apart. Our results demonstrate site fidelity of female King Eiders to a breeding area on the North Slope of Alaska, document the dispersal of male King Eiders between breeding seasons, and present the first evidence for wing molt site fidelity in males.
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Vol. 29 • No. 2