a1 Norwegian Ornithological Society/BirdLife Norway, Sandgt.30b, N-7012 Trondheim, Norway.
a2 Murmansk Marine Biological Institute, Vladimirskaya 17, Murmansk 183010, Russian Federation.
a3 Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, 38 Bering str., St.Petersburg, Russian Federation, present address National Park Russian Arctic, 57 Sovetskikh Kosmonavtove ave., Archangelsk, Russia.
a4 Murmansk Marine Biological Institute, Vladimirskaya 17, Murmansk 183010, Russian Federation.
Prolonged declines in the number of Steller’s Eider Polysticta stelleri wintering in Europe have raised concerns about the conservation status of the Western Palearctic population. Coordinated helicopter surveys of all known wintering areas in Norway and Russia and ground counts in the Baltic in 2009 found c.27,000 Steller’s Eiders, similar to numbers found during the last such survey in the mid-1990s. However, around 85% of the population now winters in Russia compared to 30–50% then. The reasons for this rapid shift in distribution are unknown but are likely linked to climate change. The continuing small population size, specialist feeding and restricted distribution of Steller’s Eider necessitate continued survey and research to track population changes and provide evidence for conservation management actions to safeguard the species.
(Received January 06 2012)
(Accepted May 06 2012)