Lateral prolongations at the base of the bill in the form of two narrow flat lamellae: bill and legs greenish gray.

Anas mollissima, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. 11. p. 848. Eider Duck, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. 11. p. 305. Common Eider, Selb.Illust. vol.11, p. 338. pls. 70, & 70*. (Trachea,) Linn. Trans, vol. xii. pl. 30. f. 1, & 2.

Dimensions

Entire length twenty-four inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) two inches three lines, (from the gape) two inches ten lines; of the tarsus two inches; of the tail four inches; from the carpus to the end of the wing eleven inches six lines.

Description

(Male). Contour of the frontal lamellae, forehead and crown, taking in the eyes, black, glossed with violet; a longitudinal band on the top of the head, cheeks, throat, and front of the neck, whitish; occiput, nape, and a large patch beneath the temples, greenish white; lower part of the neck, back, scapulars, lesser wing-coverts, curved tertiaries, and sides of the rump, pure white; breast white, with a tinge of vinaceous red: belly, abdomen, and rump, deep black: quills and tail-feathers dark ash-gray: bill dull green: irides brown: legs dull greenish gray. (Female). The whole plumage reddish brown, with transverse black bars: head and back part of the neck marked with dusky streaks: wing-coverts black, edged with ferruginous: across the wing two rather indistinct white bars: belly and abdomen dark reddish brown, with obscure transverse black bars. Young males are said not to attain to maturity till the fourth year. According to Montagu, during the first year, the back is white, and the usual parts, except the crown, black; but the rest of the body variegated with black and white. In the second year, the crown of the head is black, and the neck and breast spotted with black and white. (Egg). Smooth, shining, olive-green: long. diam. three inches; trans, diam. two inches one line.

Common in the northern parts of Britain, particularly in the Scotch Islands, where it breeds. Rarely observed southwards; but has been killed in a single instance on the coast of Devon. Nest placed on the ground, near the edge of the sea, or on projecting rocks, formed of seaweed, and copiously lined with down, which the female plucks from her body. Eggs five or six in number. Food, marine plants and insects, small fish, and bivalve mollusca.