Common Eiders, Reykjavik

That “common” annotation on a species name always strikes me as a little snippy. And an often unjustified snippiness, to boot. I mean, consider the common loon, here or here.

As for the common eider, it’s a lovely duck, even though the male’s eyes are invisible in most of my photos: something about black on black. That’s what makes this one of my favourites of the shots I got in Reykjavik harbour: I can actually see its eyes.

Male common eider, reflected in waterThe female, as usual among birds, is less distinctive, but still attractive, I think. The juveniles are just balls of fluff at this stage.

Female common eider with three chicksAnd the common eider has an uncommon family life, too. Apparently females often band together to jointly care for those pesky young. That was a big relief to me, because while I thought the first of these photos showed a pretty standard nuclear family, the second one seemed to speak of Big Love.

Common eiders: male, female, chickGaggle of common eiders, 1 male, 2 females, and 2 chicks


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2 Responses to Common Eiders, Reykjavik

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    All God’s jokes are good – even the practical ones!
    And as for the duck, I think
    God must have smiled a bit
    Seeing those bright eyes blink
    on the day He fashioned it.
    And he’s probably laughing still
    at the sound that came out of its bill!
    — excerpted from a longer poem called “Ducks” by C.W. Harvey

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