Somateria mollissima sedentaria

Status:   Accidental in fall.

Documentation: Specimen: UNSM ZM12341, about 29 Nov-2 Dec 1967 Maloney Canal, Lincoln Co (Tate 1969).

Taxonomy: Currently seven subspecies are recognized (Baldassarre 2014), four of which are native to North America: Pacific Common Eider S. m. v-nigrum, Atlantic Common Eider S. m. dresseri, Northern Common Eider S. m. borealis, and Hudson Bay Common Eider, S. m. sedentaria.

The Nebraska specimen cited above was determined by Paul Johnsgard to be of the subspecies sedentaria (Tate 1969).

RecordThere is one record, the specimen cited above, which consists of a head and one foot. It was shot by a hunter and the remains brought to UNSM by Nebraska Fish and Game Department (now NGPC) personnel and prepared as a specimen by D. Jean Tate (Tate 1969).

Comments: The interior subspecies sedentaria is non-migratory, overwintering in polynyas in southern Hudson and James Bays.  According to AOU (1957), sedentaria is “casual southward to the Niagara River”, based on a single record. AOU (1957) noted also that the western subspecies S. m. v-nigrum has occurred once in Kansas, a specimen collected 3 Nov 1891 in northeast Kansas (Thompson et al 2011). One present 27 Jan-7 Apr 1995 in southeast Iowa was considered to be v-nigrum, and a specimen collected 1 Nov 1901 near Sioux City on the Missouri River was also identified as v-nigrum (DuMont 1934a, 1934b; Kent and Dinsmore 1996). Tate (1969) noted that the latter record could as well apply to Nebraska, as its site of collection is not accurately known (Silcock 1992); DuMont (1934a) noted that it was “Found in market. Brought in by hunter from Missouri River bottoms below city.”  Based on three specimens, the species is considered a casual fall migrant in South Dakota (Tallman et al 2002). No records were listed for Colorado (CBRC 2018).


CBRC: Colorado Bird Records Committee
NGPC: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum


Photograph (top) of a Common Eider head and foot (UNSM ZM12341), from a bird taken in Lincoln Co about 29 Nov-2 Dec 1967, by Ross Silcock.   The specimen is housed and maintained at the University of Nebraska State Museum and was legally salvaged or collected.  We thank Thomas Labedz for facilitating the photographing of this specimen for the Birds of Nebraska – Online.

Literature Cited

American Ornithologists’ Union [AOU]. 1983. The AOU Check-list of North American birds, 6th ed. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

Baldassarre, G. 2014. Ducks, geese, and swans of North America. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Colorado Bird Records Committee[ CBRC]. 2018.  Colorado Bird Records Committee database, accessed 1 Feb 2018.

DuMont, P.A. 1934a. A revised list of the birds of Iowa. University of Iowa Studies. Studies in Natural History 15 (5), Iowa City, Iowa, USA.

DuMont, P.A. 1934b. Iowa specimen of the “American Eider” re-determined as the Pacific Eider. Wilson Bulletin 46: 203.

Kent, T.H., and J.J. Dinsmore. 1996. Birds in Iowa. Publshed by the authors, Iowa City and Ames, Iowa, USA.

Silcock, W.R. 1992. An additional Nebraska record of Common Eider? NBR 60: 149-150.

Tallman, D.A., Swanson, D.L., and J.S. Palmer. 2002. Birds of South Dakota. Midstates/Quality Quick Print, Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA.

Tate, D.J. 1969. Common Eider record for Nebraska. NBR 37: 38. Thompson, M.C., C.A. Ely, B. Gress, C. Otte, S.T. Patti, D. Seibel, and E.A. Young. 2011. Birds of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2018.  Common Eider (Somateria mollissima sedentaria). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 30 Oct 2018