Common Eider

Somateria mollissima

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

COEI

Code 6

SOMMOL

ITIS

Egg Color:

Light olive to brown or gray olive



Number of Eggs:

3 - 5



Incubation Days:

24 - 26



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

On ground protected by rocks or grass



Nest Material:

Sticks, mosses, grasses, seaweed and down



Migration:

Some migrate



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General

Common Eider: Large diving duck (v-nigrum), with distinctive sloping forehead, black body and white breast and back. Crown is black and nape is pale green. Wings are white with black primary and secondary feathers. Tail and rump are black. Bill is dull yellow to gray-green (eastern) or orange-yellow (western). Western female is barred gray-brown overall with a paler head and gray bill; eastern female appears more red-brown. Juveniles of both resemble females but are grayer overall. Eclipse males have dark heads, backs, and breasts; 1st winter males have dark heads with white backs and breasts.

Range and Habitat

Common Eider: Breeds on the arctic coasts from southwestern Alaska, across northern Canada, and coastal Greenland. Forms flocks offshore in the winter and occurs off the coasts of Alaska, Greenland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and New England. Abundant on shallow bays, rocky shores, and casual on the Great Lakes.

Breeding and Nesting

Common Eider: Three to five light olive to brown or gray olive eggs are laid in a nest on the ground. Nest is constructed of twigs, mosses, grass and seaweed lined with with down from the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Common Eider: Eats shellfish it gathers by diving 33 to 60 feet underwater.

Vocalization

Common Eider: Makes a pigeon like "coo" or a low hoarse "kor-er-korkor-kor."

Similar Species

Common Eider: King eider is simiar but lacks the sloping profile. Spectacled Eider has large white "goggles" with black borders.

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BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X