Word of the Day – Wednesday, May 31st



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EIDER (EYE-duhr)

Any of several large northern sea ducks having fine soft down
Common clues: Duck down; Duck with soft down, Type of duck; Pillow stuffing; Sea duck; Where to get down; It might get you down; Black and white duck
Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year
Frequency in English language: 37776 / 86800
Eider duck eats green crab

The Common Eider is a large sea-duck, which is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on coastal waters.

The eider's nest is built close to the sea and is lined with the celebrated eiderdown, plucked from the female's breast. This soft and warm lining has long been harvested for filling pillows and quilts, but in more recent years has been largely replaced by down from domestic farm-geese and synthetic alternatives. Nonetheless, eiderdown harvesting continues and is sustainable, as it can be done after the ducklings leave the nest with no harm to the birds.

The Common Eider is characterized by its bulky shape and large wedge-shaped bill. The male is unmistakable with its black and white plumage and green nape. The female is a brown bird, but can still be readily distinguished from all ducks, except other eider-species, on the basis of size and head shape. This duck's call is a pleasant "ah-ooo", described as being "like a bunch of gossipy old women, expressing surprise". The species is often readily approachable.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Common Eider"