The Eider Duck is often just called the Eider and is the largest and the fastest flying duck in England. It is a sea duck that can be found around most of the coasts of England, especially around rocky coasts. The Eider builds its nests close to the sea and lines the nest with ‘down’ feathers. The female Eider plucks the down feathers from her breast because these feathers are fine, fluffy and very soft which help to insulate eggs.
The Eider has a fat-looking body with a short neck and large head which looks almost flat. It also has a long, dark wedged-shaped beak. The adult female Eider is brown with darker brown streaks and markings all over the body, whereas the adult male is mainly white with a black crown, black sides, tummy and tail. The male also has lime-green markings on the back of its neck.
Eiders are quite sociable ducks that can often be seen in groups feeding together in summer and flying in flocks in winter. They look quite heavy in flight because they droop their necks and heads. When they fly low over water, they fly in neat lines with each duck following the duck in front and when they want to dive to find food, the Eider in front dives first and the ones behind follow and do the same. Eiders eat mussels, shellfish, crabs, starfish and sea urchins.