Common Eider – Accepted

1. 05–18 July 2004

ASY male

Crescent City, DN



ph., NAB 58:632, McCaskie & Vaughn (2004)



Common Eider – Not accepted, identification not established

? May 1982


Newport Harbor ORA




12 Dec 1982


San Francisco SF









Common Eider

COMMON EIDER Somateria mollissima (Linnaeus, 1758)

Accepted: 1 (33%)


Not accepted: 2

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Color image: none

This sea duck has a circumpolar distribution. In the New World it breeds from the Aleutian Islands and south-coastal Alaska north and east across arctic Canada to Newfoundland and south along the Atlantic coast to New England, recently as far south as New York. The main wintering areas are in the coastal waters of Alaska, the Atlantic Provinces, and the Northeast. Birds of the Atlan­tic coast (mollissima group of subspecies) have strayed south to Florida and as far west as Nebraska and Wisconsin. Those of the Pacific coast (subspecies v-nigrum) have strayed casually to accidentally south and east to British Columbia (Mlodi­now 1999b), Washington, Saskatche­wan, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Newfoundland, and Green­land. As noted by Mlodinow (1999b), most records of vagrant Common Eiders in the West have come from inland sites during fall and early winter.

California’s only accepted record of the Common Eider—the first to be found on the Pacific coast south of Canada—is of an adult male v-nigrum present from 5 to 18 July 2004 in Crescent City, Del Norte County (McCaskie and Vaughn 2004). About two weeks later, between 3 and 13 August 2004, a male molting into eclipse plumage was recorded up the coast in northwestern Washington—at Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (NAB 59:136, 191). Then, from 26 to 28 April 2005, an adult male was about 60 miles west of Port Angeles at Tatoosh Island (NAB 59:485). The Common Eider’s extreme rarity along the coast south of Alaska, as well as the unexpected seasonality of the California and Washington records (the first Washington record, in particular) suggest that these three records may have involved a single individual.