The Common Eider is normally a bird of coastal waters of northern North America, although they can be found as far south as New
England in winter. They are almost always found in near-coastal salt water
habitats, and only rarely are found on fresh water. They only rarely are
found inland, and The Birds of South Dakota (SDOU, 2001) only lists three
occurrences within South Dakota. A male is pictured on the right, while a
female is shown at the bottom of the page.
While found throughout the northern parts of North America, they are nearly
always found in relatively close proximity to shore, especially near rocky
shorelines. They are only rarely found on fresh water.
Diet: Primarily feeds on mollusks, especially mussels and other
bivalves. Will also eat crustaceans, marine worms, aquatic insects, and
small fish. Occasionally feeds on plant material.
Behavior: Does most of its foraging by diving and
swimming underwater after prey items. Will also sometimes feed in
shallow water, acting more like a dabbling duck by tipping its head down and
grabbing food on or just below the water's surface.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: The male has dovelike cooing in groups of
three during courtship.
Migration: Summers along rocky coastlines
throughout the Arctic. Birds in the southern part of their normal
range may not migrate at all in winter, while those in the north generally
migrate only relatively short distances to the south in winter.
Conservation Status: Abundant in it's normal range.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Common Eider"
Photo Information: Photo taken on May 25th, 2012 at
Acadia National Park in Maine - Terry Sohl