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Species, Age and Sex Identification of Ducks Using Wing Plumage

Common Eider


Wing Character Male Female
Adult Immature Immature Adult
Tertials Entirely white or, in sub-adults (yearlings), tips mottled with white; pronounced curvature; acutely pointed Dark brown to near black; usually without edging, but with some light tips; tips are rather sharp; usually frayed and often notched; slightly curved Dark brown with light edges and tips; slightly curved; bluntly pointed
Greater tertial coverts Broadly rounded, entirely white; black mottled on sub- adults Narrow toward tips, which may be somewhat ragged, with a trace to a band of light edging Broadly rounded, dark brown, broad arc of pale reddish brown edging
Greater secondary coverts Black with white bases; tips of more distal often white Dark brown, usually with only traces of light brown edging Dark brown, many white-tipped; rest tipped with pale reddish brown
Middle and lesser coverts Entirely white on adults; white with some black mottling along edges on sub- adults Narrow toward tips, dark brown with a variable amount of light brown edging; edging usually more obvious on females but sexes intergrade Broadly rounded, dark brown, heavy pale reddish brown edging
Rarely one or more white feathers


JPG-Adult male common eider JPG-Adult female common eider JPG-sub-adult male common eider JPG-Immature common eider

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