Duck (Eider Duck) / Somateria mollissima

Did you know...

The common eider is the heaviest duck species found in the UK

Down is harvested from the nest at the end of the breeding season for use in pillows and quilts

Eiders can dive 20 metres in search of food

Eiders breed in the Arctic where they nest on the tundra. The nest is a shallow scrape lined with down feathers.

The female, who is n=much draber in colour than the male – see image below – lays up to eight eggs which are incubated for some 28 days, and she alone is responsible for incubating the eggs and does not leave the nest during this time. She survives by living on fat reserves stored before the breeding season. Once the eggs hatch female eiders team up and share the work of rearing the ducklings.

Eiders migrate for the winter, when they often form large flocks on coastal waters. It can fly at speeds of up to 113kph.

Eiders feed on a range of sea creatures including molluscs, such as mussels, and crustaceans, such as crabs and lobsters.