Somateria mollissima | Common Eider | Éadar



Conservation status

This species is Red-listed according to Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2020-2026 and is of high conservation value as a result.

The Eider is listed as a ‘Near Threatened’ species according to the last IUCN Red List assessment in 2018. Additionally, the population trend is unknown.

Species Biology


The Eider is a large species of duck with a thick, short neck and long, angular bill.

The males are quite conspicuous with white upperparts and a black belly as well as a black crown and a muted green patch on the side of the face and neck.

The females are less prominent in appearance with a mottled brown body.

The Eider stands at 50-71 cm in length with a wingspan of 80-108 cm and a weight range of 1.2-2.8 kg.


This diving species typically feeds on animal material such as molluscs and crustaceans.


Suitable nesting habitat includes offshore inlets where the risk of predators is greatly reduced.

Eider will typically be found along the seacoast or lakes close to the shore. 


During the breeding season, this species lays a clutch of 4-6 eggs, each weighing approximately 110 grams, and will incubate these eggs for a period of 25-28 days.

The young fledge after 65-75 days.

A typical wild Eider will live for around fourteen years, with breeding occurring at three years.


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

The Eider is resident along north and north western Ireland where it is locally abundant but is not found further south.

Winter sees a slight increase in species numbers due to visitors but the large majority of individuals are still found along the northern coast.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

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