Eider Duck (Somateria mollissima)
Length: 54-62 cm
Weight: 1,200-2,600 g
Wingspan: 80-108 cm
Population: 300,000 pairs
Eider is the only duck species in Iceland, which is dependent on the sea all year round. It sometimes nests by rivers and lakes inland but takes the young to sea right after hatching. During incubation female eiders pluck down from their breasts and use it to insulate the nest. Farmers harvest this down for filling pillows and quilts. Many farmers in coastal areas have made their land favourable for eiders by making shelter for the nests and keeping predators away. Where farmers have taken good care of their eider colonies for long period of time the females get quite tame and do not leave their nest when the farmer comes to harvest the down. Eiders feed mainly on blue mussels.
Eiders are common in the coastal areas of Skjáfandi bay and the largest nesting colonies are by river Laxá, at Héðinshöfði cape and in Flatey Island.