Description: The common eider is the largest of all North American ducks. They are easily identified by their long, sloping bills. The drake has a white chest, back, and neck, and a black belly and sides. It has a white face and a black crown with a white streak; the back of the head is olive. The bill is also olive with a gray tip. The hen is mottled light brown-and-black with a grayish bill. Both hens and drakes have gray legs and feet. Drakes are significantly larger than hens. Average size: 21-26 ½ inches. Average weight: 3-6 ½ pounds.
Science: Common eiders breed near the coastlines and coastal islands along Alaska, the Arctic, the Hudson Bay, and eastern Canada. They may be found on tundra and rocky shoreline areas. They migrate in mid-September, forming large rafts and flocks after ice pushes them out of their waters, and usually winter on the open ocean far from land on the coastal waters of eastern Canada and Alaska. They dive for mollusks, crustaceans, and fish in waters as deep as sixty feet. Hens quack, whereas drakes howl. Their population is stable.
Hunting: Common eiders are prized by waterfowlers due to their color. They can be difficult to hunt, as they generally stay out on the open ocean. They are mostly hunted from boats using sea duck hunting techniques. The eating quality is poor.