Volume 49, No. 1

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Studies of the time budget and daily activity of Common Eider Somateria mollissima during incubation


1Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 29, Staromonetny, Moscow, 119017, Russia (
2Festivalnaya str. 22-8-110, Moscow, Russia
3Lomonosov Moscow State University, Solovetsky Branch of White Sea Biological Station, Zaozernaya str. 17-1-6, Solovetsky, Arkhangelsk district, 164409, Russia
4Field Educational Centre “Ecosystem”, Petrozavodskaya str. 28-3-115, Moscow, Russia


TERTITSKI, G.M., SEMASHKO, E.V., CHERENKOV, A.E. & SEMASHKO, V.Y. 2021. Studies of the time budget and daily activity of Common Eider Somateria mollissima during incubation. Marine Ornithology 49: 151 - 158

Received 01 September 2020, accepted 05 January 2021

Date Published: 2021/04/15
Date Online: 2021/04/10
Key words: Common Eider, Russia, White Sea, breeding behavior, incubation period, geolocator


In the Common Eider Somateria mollissima, only females incubate the clutch over a period of 25-28 days. Determining their schedule of nest absence, how long they are away, how often, and where they go can be problematic. They must also avoid nest predation while tending to their own needs. We used geolocators to investigate the behavior of incubating females on forested islands in Dolgaya Guba Bay (65°03′N, 035°47′E), White Sea. Data were obtained for 12 females: three in 2015 and 2016, four in 2017, and two in 2018. During the entire incubation period, females left their nests for the sea 12-28 times. The average duration at sea was 331.0 ± 53.8 min, including 261.1 ± 47.9 min during the darkest hours in otherwise 24-hour daylight. The patterns are similar to those of eiders nesting in lower, non-polar latitudes, where nights are dark.


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