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Eider Duck (Somateria mollissima)


The eider duck is the most common duck in Iceland and can be seen along the coast and in some lakes close to the ocean.  The down (small feathers they use to line their nests) was collected as far back as the 14th century and almost lead to their extinction in the 19thCentury. Nowadays the down is collected and replaced by hay, which the ducks don’t seem to mind and just carry on as normal. The black and white ducks are the drakes (males) and the brown are the hens (females).

Average Length: 60 cm
Average Weight: 2.2 kg
Wingspan: 94 cm
Diet: Mussels, slow moving crustaceans near seabed
Est. population around Iceland: ~ 300,000 pairs
Residence Period: All year round
Nesting habitat: Open areas close to sea, usually of high elevation and some man made nesting locations, which are protected
Nesting Period: Late April to Late June
Clutch size (No eggs): 4-6
Incubation time (days): 25-28
Fledging time: 65-75
Typical life span (years): 8
Age at first breeding (years): 3
IUCN world Status: Least concern
Major Threats: Oil spills, entanglement in fishing gear, predation, pollution, overhunting
Other Names: Æður, Ederfugl, Haahka, Eiderente, Edredone, Edredon zwyczajny, Eider à duvet, Pehelyréce, Ærfugl, Eider-edredão, Eider