Common Eider

Waterfowl Identification

Common Eiders, Somateria mollissima, are the largest North American duck species with the drake weighing up to 6 and a half pounds. The drake's head is white with a black cap and a greenish nape. It has a long sloping olive or yellowish colored bill with a gray tip. It has a white breast, black flanks and a black tail. The adult hen has a barred brown body and brown head with a gray bill.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS

Thick-necked stocky birds, alternately flapping and sailing in flight; flocks string out in a line, close to the water. Occurs in the United States chiefly along New England coasts and occasionally south to New Jersey.

Other eiders—king, spectacled and Stellar's—occur in Alaska and are not pictured in this guide. King eiders occasionally are found in north Atlantic coastal waters.

Length: 23 1/2"
Weight: 5 lbs.


 Distribution Map

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Last Updated: November 14, 2018