The Common Eider by Chris Waltho & John C Coulson | Poyser Monographs 2015 | Hardback | 352 pages | 10 plates with colour photos | colour distribution maps| b/w illustrations | b/w maps & tables | ISBN: 9781408125328
Publisher’s View: A common sight around the more northerly shores of the British Isles, the Common Eider is the largest duck in the northern hemisphere. The eider is particularly well adapted to cold-water environments; the insulating properties of eider down are iconic. The species is taxonomically interesting, with a range of well-marked subspecies reflecting the patterns of ice coverage during ancient glaciations, and these ducks have also provided the focus for a number of important behavioural studies, especially on feeding ecology and energy budgets.
Eiders have a long association with humans, and have deep cultural significance in many societies. However, modern lifestyles are exposing these ducks to a wide range of new pressures.
‘The Common Eider’ provides a comprehensive portrait of the Common Eider and the two other species in the genus, the King and Spectacled Eiders. Authors Chris Waltho and John Coulson bring together an extensive and diverse international literature, with sections on taxonomy, habitats, breeding biology, population dynamics, diet and foraging, dispersal and migration, and conservation.
Chris Waltho has studied eiders for more than thirty years, with his research based around the Firth of Clyde, home to the largest population in the British Isles. An experienced aerial surveyor of sea ducks and divers, Chris has been the president of the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club since 2007.
Over more than 40 years of research, John Coulson has made outstanding contributions to the behavioural ecology of colonially breeding seabirds and our understanding of coloniality in birds. A former Reader in Zoology at the University of Durham, Coulson was awarded the Godman-Savin Medal by the British Ornithologists’ Union in 1992.
Fatbirder View: First class and very comprehensive treatment of this familiar and much-loved species. Excellent photo choice, going not for ‘art’ but science showing features, behaviour etc. As the publisher says its all here including treatments of its two close relatives. Poyser monographs never seem to dip below an incredibly high bar. Excellent!