One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A northern sea duck, of which the male has mainly black and white plumage with a colored head, and the brown female has soft down feathers that are used to line the nest.
Genus Somateria (and Polysticta), family Anatidae: four species, in particular the common eider (S. mollissima)
- ‘Primary predators for these eiders were large gulls, and occasionally evidence of mammalian predation was found.’
- ‘They frequently nest in colonies, often in association with eiders.’
- ‘Both of these types are plentiful on the Cape, as are sea ducks, such as scoters and eiders, viewable from many vantage points.’
- ‘Terns and eiders had been disturbed, while eiders had been doubly hit because the pickers were depleting the mussel beds on which they feed.’
- ‘Sea ducks like scoters and eiders are also divers.’
- 1.1another term for eiderdown
Late 17th century: from Icelandic æthur, from Old Norse æthr.
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