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Common Eider

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About the Common Eider

Also known as: Eider Duck, Cuddy's Ducks

The Common Eider is a large sea duck which can be found along the northern coasts of Europe, North America, and eastern Siberia. It breeds in the Arctic, but winters south in large flocks on coastal waters.

Common Eiders are the largest of the four species of eider. They are abundant in North America and Europe (where they are the largest species of duck), with an estimated population of 1.5 to 2-million birds.

Common Eiders build their nests close to the ocean in colonies of up to 10,000 birds or more. Eider nests are lined with eiderdown, soft feathers plucked from the female duck's breast.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 09 January 2009
Scientific Name Somateria mollissima
  • Anseriformes
  • Anatidae
  • Somateria
  • S. mollissima
Birdorable Family Ducks & Geese
Conservation Status Near Threatened
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 23 July 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
20 to 28 inches
41.6 to 107.2 ounces
Range East Europe North Europe South Europe West Asia North America United States (West) United States (East) Arctic


From IUCN Red List:
The Common Eider is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2015 by BirdLife International. This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened. Within Europe it has experienced moderate declines and these have not been compensated for by increases elsewhere in the species's range. Declines are thought to be driven by a range of threats including overharvesting of aquatic resources, pollution, disturbance and hunting. Should the declines be found to be more severe, or new information reveal declines in the S. m. sedentaria and S. m. borealis populations then the species would warrant uplisting; it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion A4abcde.

International Names

  • Kajka Mořská (Czech)
  • Edderfugl (Danish)
  • Eidereend (Dutch)
  • Haahka (Finnish)
  • Eider à Duvet (French)
  • Eiderente (German)
  • Edredone Comune (Italian)
  • ホンケワタガモ (Honkewatagamo) (Japanese)
  • Ærfugl (Norwegian)
  • Edredon (Polish)
  • êider-edredão (Portuguese)
  • Гага обыкновенная (Russian)
  • Eider Común (Spanish)
  • Ejder (Swedish)

Related articles

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Baby Birdorable: Common Eider

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Common Eider. Common Eiders line their ... more
The Birdorable Common Eider

The Birdorable Common Eider

The Common Eider is the first new species that we're adding to Birdorable in 2009. It is a beautiful bird with some striking features. The male is unmistakable with its black and ... more