Common Eider

Important Notice: will be shutting down on January 2, 2019. However, most of the content found here will now be available on the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program website.

Somateria mollissima

Common Eiders 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.

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

illustration of common eider hen, drake, and eclipse drake

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.

Common Eider