Common eider (Somateria mollissima)

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The common eider  (Somateria mollissima) is a large  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.

The eider’s nest is built close to the sea and is lined with eiderdown, plucked from the female’s breast.

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. 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.

Rare observations near the Black Sea coast, mostly in winter.


photo: Mihai BACIU


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