Newfoundland’s Bruce Mcatavish emailed a rushed set of news and photos- check out this bad boy! See Bruce’s post HERE.
A remarkabley bright orange-billed drake Eider. Thoughts instantly turn to the possibility of it being Newfoundland’s second record of Pacific Eider v-nigrum. Is that what it is?
We don’t think this is a v-nigrum. At first glance it’s inspired but appears to completely lack a bunch of key characters.
Specifically v-nigrum should have deep curvature to base f black cap- horizontal on this bird with forehead bump- very typical of borealis. There is not enough green under black cap (under there seems tad more than most of borealis around it). I don’t think the basal lobes feathering intruding into bill base are big and fat enough. The bare skin frontal process should be short-looking for v nigrum
So what is it?
Either an extreme coloured borealis (not impossible) or that all-in v-nigrum from a few years back got cheeky with the locals?
The Handbook of North American Birds:
Referring to the Davis Straights/W &SW Greenland and southerly East coast… between Greenland and Canada...both typical and atypical v-nigra have been taken (not breeding) including measurements in Schioler (1926). Schioler indicated they occur there every winter…
J.C .Phillips (1926) thought them merely individual variants (of borealis) and not true Pacific Eiders.
So… the answer is?