(Somateria mollissima)




Facts about this animal

The European eider is the largest of the eider group with a body-weight of about 2.2 to 2.3 kg in males and 2.1 to 2.2 kg in females.

The eider tends to colonial breeding. Nest sites are variable and may be located in tern colonies. The nests are heavily lined with down. 3 to 6 dark olive-green eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female alone for 26-27 days.

Did you know?
that eider down, or eiderdown, is exceptionally soft and has insulating properties superior to any other down? The female eider duck plucks down from her breast to line her nest and cover the eggs. Once the nest is abandoned, the eiderdown is gathered. In Iceland, the birds are not disturbed, and are actually attracted to safe areas by the farmers who supply food and protect them. This relationship between wild eider duck and farmer has existed for generations and helps insure the continued existence of a beautiful bird and a valuable resource.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Somateria mollissima
Name (English) Eider
Name (French) Eider à duvet
Name (German) Eiderente
Name (Spanish) Eider común
Local names Czech: Kajka morská
Dutch: Eidereend
Estonian: Hahk
Finnish: Haahka
Greek: Poupoulópapia
Hungarian: Pehelyréce
Italian: Edredone
Polish: Edredon
Portuguese: Eider edredão
Romansh: Anda loma
Swedish: Ejder
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.) Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Andreas Trepte



Range Eurasia: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia former Yug. Rep., Netherlands, Norway (including Svalbard and Jan Mayen), Poland, Romania, Russian Fed., Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.North America: Canada, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, United States Vagrants may be encountered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia Georgia, Israel, Luxemburg, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia.
Habitat Marine and freshwater wetlands.
Wild population The global population is estimated to be 2,500,000 to 3,600,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 219 reported to ISIS (2006).

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 18 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Adrian Pingstone

Why do zoos keep this animal

The eider is a very attractive, species, thus a good ambassador for wetland and marine conservation. Being the producer of eider down, it is also of particular educational interest.