Common Eider

General description.

Our largest duck, the male eider has black underparts, and there is a greenish tinge on the back of his head. His bill gives the "Common Eider" his distinctive profile. He is usually seen holding it pointed down toward to surface of the water.

Female appearance.

The female is mottled brown with barred flanks.

Breeding habits.

This duck breeds along the Arctic coasts of Alaska and Canada and south to Massachusetts.

Calls or song.

During courtship the male eider moans and coos. The female quacks.

Population and distribution.

Only the Arctic "Common Eider" is migratory. Otherwise they can be located along the west coast of Washington and east coast as far south as Long Island. As they are no longer hunted for their "down", the numbers of "Common Eider" are increasing, and they are once again prolifically producing on the coast of Maine.

Nesting habits.

The eider's nest is built close to the sea and is lined with the celebrated eiderdown, plucked from the female's breast. There she lays 4-7 buff-olive eggs in a mass of grass.

Similar birds:

King Eider Photo King Eider
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