Courtship begins in November and December when the plumage of the male eider is at its finest and their distinctive courtship calls can be heard long distances across the water on still days. Nest building, incubation (which on average lasts 28 days) and the rearing of ducklings are all left to the female.
Highly prized for its down feathers it is the Eider ducks nests that were often raided. Ducklings take to the water within 48 hours of hatching. Ducklings are at their most vulnerable at this time and they group together in crèches supervised by mother ducks. Other females (called aunties) join the crèches to help warn and protect them against predators such as large gulls and foxes.
Incubation: 25-28 days
Fledging: 65-75 days
Maximum lifespan: 31 years