A male Somateria mollissima (Common Eider) at the London Wetland Centre, Barnes, UK. By Diliff, 2013
These large marine ducks are at home on the water, where they feed on molluscs and crustaceans. They are probably best known for their super-soft downy breast feathers, that the females use to line their nests and humans use to fill their pillows.
Last week I gave you this mystery sound and skull to identify, with a the additional challenge of asking whether they belong to the same species:
As it turns out several of you managed to get the bird in question. The wide variation and complexity of the song suggested a passerine bird, with a high degree of control of its syrinx. In fact, this species is named for its ability to produce loud and intricate calls containing a range of phrases (incidentally including mimicry of noises it has heard) – it’s a Song Thrush Turdus philomelos Brehm, 1831.
Song Thrush singing a song in a tree. By Taco Meeuwsen 2006