Somateria mollissima

What do they look like?

Eiders are large, distinctive seaducks which can be spotted around the Scottish coast all year. The males have striking black and white plumage, with a pale green patch on the back of their neck and a pinkish tinge on their chest. The females are mottled brown in colour. Both males and females are characterised by their bulky appearance and wedge-shaped bill.

When can I see them in Scotland?

All year

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Eiders can be seen all year around Scotland. They usually stay close to the shore, relying on molluscs as their main food source and nesting in colonies around the coast. During the summer, females can sometimes be spotted looking after a large 'creche' of chicks, safeguarding them from predators until they are finally able to fly at around 10 weeks old.

Conservation Status:

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to the Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Eiders are currently a ‘Amber’ listed species.

25-28 days
65-75 days
14 years
Average lifespan

Susan Davies