Eider Somateria mollissima

The eider duck is characterised by its wedge-shaped bill and bulky shape. Males have a black and white plumage with green nape; females are brown, but retain a similar head shape and size.


The male Eider is a black and white duck with a beautiful pale green patch at the back of the head, pinkish breast and pale, yellow-grey bill. Females are greyish-brown with delicate barring.


Length: 55-60cm Wingspan: 94cm Weight: 2.2kg Average Lifespan: 18 years


Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.


A common nesting bird around the coasts of Scotland and northern England, the Eider winters all around the coast.

When to see

January – December


Eider Duck nests were traditionally harvested for their ‘Eider Down’ after the eggs had hatched and the chicks left the nest. This soft, fluffy down was used to stuff pillows and quilts.

Common name


Species name

Somateria mollissima

When to see in Scotland

January – December

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