Male king eider ducks swimming in Troms og Finnmark, Norway
© Pal Hermansen/Minden Picture
Ducks in a row. Kings eiders line up to find their queen
When king eider males line up like this, they may well be courting a hen. These colourful drakes are one of several types of sea ducks, which feed in saltwater. Male king eiders have striking plumage and unusually shaped yellow beaks which resemble crowns. They, and the less-ornate brown females, make their home in the cold waters along the Arctic coasts of northern Europe, North America and Asia.
For most of the year, king eiders gather in large flocks at sea, resting on ice floes, swimming and diving as deep as 80ft underwater to feed on crustaceans and molluscs. But as the summer breeding season draws near, these ducks migrate even further north in smaller numbers to the Arctic tundra, where they nest. This row of earnest males was photographed along the north-east coast of Norway, hot on the heels of a hen.