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Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder

The common eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria mollissima), called Ejder in Skåne, also called St. Cuthbert's duck or Cuddy's duck, is a large (50–71 cm in body length) sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia.

It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on coastal waters. It can fly at speeds up to 113 km/h

The eider's nest is built close to the sea and is lined with eiderdown, plucked from the female's breast. This soft and warm lining has long been harvested for filling pillows and quilts, but in more recent years has been largely replaced by down from domestic farm-geese and synthetic alternatives.

Although eiderdown pillows or quilts are now a rarity, eiderdown harvesting continues and is sustainable, as it can be done after the ducklings leave the nest with no harm to the birds. The scientific name of the duck is derived from Ancient Greek somatos "body" and erion "wool", and Latin mollissimus "very soft", all referring to its down feathers.

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder

Range map from www.oiseaux.net - Ornithological Portal Oiseaux.net
www.oiseaux.net is one of those MUST visit pages if you're in to bird watching. You can find just about everything there


Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Range of S. mollissima - Click HERE for full size map
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76685


Description
The common eider is both the largest of the four eider species and the largest duck found in Europe, and is exceeded in North America only by smatterings of the Muscovy duck, which only reaches North America in a wild state in southernmost Texas and south Florida. It measures 50 to 71 cm in length, weighs 0.81 to 3.04 kg and spans 80–110 cm across the wings.

The average weight of 22 males in the North Atlantic was 2.21 kg while 32 females weighed an average of 1.92 kg. It is characterized by its bulky shape and large, wedge-shaped bill. The male is unmistakable, with its black and white plumage and green nape.


Female VS Male

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Female Common Eider
Böda Harbour, Öland - May 2019

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider in breeding plumage
Böda Harbour, Öland - May 2019




Eclipse Plumage

Many ducks have bright, colourful plumage, exhibiting strong sexual dimorphism. However, they moult into a dull plumage after breeding in mid-summer. This drab, female-like appearance is called eclipse plumage. When they shed feathers to go into eclipse, the ducks become flightless for a short period of time.

Some duck species remain in eclipse for one to three months in the late summer and early fall, while others retain the cryptic plumage until the next spring when they undergo another moult to return to their breeding plumage.

Although mainly found in the Anatidae, a few other species, including related red junglefowl, most fairywrens and some sunbirds also have an eclipse plumage. In the superb and splendid fairywrens, very old males (over about four years) may moult from one nuptial plumage to another whereas in the red-backed and white-winged fairywrens, males do not acquire nuptial plumage until four years of age – well after they become sexually mature and indeed longer than the vast majority of individuals live.

In contrast to the ducks, males of hummingbirds and most lek-mating passerines – like the Guianan cock-of-the-rock or birds of paradise – retain their exuberant plumage and sexual dimorphism at all times, moulting as ordinary birds do once annually.



Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider in eclipse plumage
Öckerö, Sweden and we can see the green nape disappearing - May 2019

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider in eclipse plumage
Öckerö, Sweden and we can see the green nape disappearing - May 2019


The female is a brown bird, but can still be readily distinguished from all ducks, except other eider species, on the basis of size and head shape. The drake's display call is a strange almost human-like "ah-ooo," while the hen utters hoarse quacks. The species is often readily approachable.

Listen to the Common Eider

Remarks from the Recordist

Call from a flock of female.



www.xeno-canto.org


Length: 50 - 71 cm
Wingspan: 80 - 110 cm
Weight: Male 2210 g
Female 1920 g
Longevity: 18 Years
Distinctive Feature
• Wedge shaped head / wedge
Similar Species


From opus at www.birdforum.net


Drakes of the European, eastern North American and Asia/western North American races can be distinguished by minor differences in plumage and bill colour. Some authorities place the subspecies v-nigra as a separate species.

This species dives for crustaceans and molluscs, with mussels being a favoured food. The eider will eat mussels by swallowing them whole; the shells are then crushed in their gizzard and excreted. When eating a crab, the eider will remove all of its claws and legs, and then eat the body in a similar fashion.

It is abundant, with populations of about 1.5–2 million birds in both North America and Europe, and also large but unknown numbers in eastern Siberia (HBW).

A particularly famous colony of eiders lives on the Farne Islands in Northumberland, England. These birds were the subject of one of the first ever bird protection laws, established by Saint Cuthbert in the year 676.

About 1,000 pairs still nest there every year. Because St. Cuthbert is the patron saint of Northumberland, it was natural that the eider should be chosen as the county's emblem bird; the birds are still often called Cuddy's ducks in the area, "Cuddy" being the familiar form of "Cuthbert".

In Canada's Hudson Bay, important eider die-offs were observed in the 1990s by local populations due to quickly changing ice flow patterns. The Canadian Wildlife Service has spent several years gathering up-to-date information on their populations, and preliminary results seem to show a population recovery.

The common eider is the object of the 2011 documentary People of a Feather, which studies the historical relationship between the Sanikiluaq community and eiders, as well as various aspects of their ecology.

The common eider is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Social behaviour
Eiders are colonial breeders. They nest on coastal islands in colonies ranging in size of less than 100 to upwards of 10,000-15,000 individuals. Female eiders frequently exhibit a high degree of natal philopatry, where they return to breed on the same island where they were hatched. This can lead to a high degree of relatedness between individuals nesting on the same island, as well as the development of kin-based female social structures.

This relatedness has likely played a role in the evolution of co-operative breeding behaviours amongst eiders. Examples of these behaviours include laying eggs in the nests of related individuals and crèching, where female eiders team up and share the work of rearing ducklings.

Conservation status
Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Near Threatened (IUCN 3.1)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015. International Union for Conservation of Nature



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

www.birdforum.net


Sighted: (Date of first photo that I could use) 13 May 2019
Location: Böda Harbour, Öland


Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Female Common Eider / Ejder - 13 May 2019 - Böda Harbour, Öland

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 13 May 2019 - Böda Harbour, Öland

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 13 May 2019 - Böda Harbour, Öland

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 16 May 2019 - Böda Harbour, Öland

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 16 May 2019 - Böda Harbour, Öland

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 16 May 2019 - Böda Harbour, Öland

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 16 May 2019 - Böda Harbour, Öland

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 31 May 2019 - Björnhuvudet, Öckerö

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Male Common Eider / Ejder - 31 May 2019 - Björnhuvudet, Öckerö

Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, Ejder
Female Common Eider / Ejder - 31 May 2019 - Björnhuvudet, Öckerö



PLEASE! If I have made any mistakes identifying any bird, PLEASE let me know on my guestbook



       
                  



                                       

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