Common Eider

common eiderCommon Eider (Somataria mollissima) are the most widespread  and abundant eider species, breeding further south than any of the others. They’re the largest duck species in the northern hemisphere, too. Six common eider subspecies are recognized, with 4 occurring in North America. North American common eider subspecies are the Atlantic (S. m. dresseri), Pacific (S. m. v-nigra), Northern (S. m. borealis), and Hudson Bay (S. m. sedentaria). Common Eiders are only slightly larger than king eiders. Large, heavy-built ducks with long faces; a roman-nosed profile formed by long orange to yellow bill sloping to tall, black crown. Bill color is racially variable but generally olive-gray, transitioning to yellow on facial area and tip. Nape to upper neck pale green, bisected by white line running into white portions of neck and back. Scapulars long and curved; retails slightly curved forming a small sail on back. Salmon-pink breast.  The females have same facial shape as males and usually similarly pale gray bill. Both sexes have yellow legs and feet. Drake common eider don’t achieve prime breeding plumage until third year.