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We came across this image on the web of a drake "Eider" with what looks like an orange bill at the Brouwersdam (by Kjell Nilsen) and shared this image on Facebook to discuss the id. Quickly it turned out to be a mollissima but a bit of orange (perhaps some borealis influence) which was extra saturated by the low angle of the sun. Another Dutch birder shared an image (below) which shows the subspecies of Eider in a row. Many thanks to Jan Harteman for kindly using the photo and information from his website.
On Iceland you can also come across these kinds of intermediate Eiders that have features of borealis and mollissima and are even thought to be a subspecies by their own "islandica" although you also have the typical mollissima present in these flocks.
What makes the Eider from the Brouwersdam stand out:
- the orange bill, but it might be satturated by the low sunlight;
- the naked skin of the bill on the forehead is rounded like borealis and is pointy with mollissima;
- it misses the "lobe" on the forehead (King Eider like bulb) that borealis has.
Another recent bird from Vlieland, incl bulb
Comments on this/these bird(s) or additional information are welcome.