Non Conventional Fibres Association

Eiderdown Fibre

Zoological Information

  • Eiderdown ducks are particularly known as the common eider (Somateria mollissima).
  • It belongs to the family Anatidae. 
  • These birds are known to inhabit coastal areas in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • With a lifespan of up to 20 years, it boasts one of the longest life expectancies among sea ducks.
  • Eiderdown fibres are the world’s most expensive, highly insulating fibres.

Habitat and fibre production

  • Eiderdown is the warm and soft down obtained from the eider duck. 
  • These ducks are typically located in Arctic and subarctic regions, where they breed in the cold northern areas, capitalizing on ample food resources and suitable nesting sites. 
  • Constructing nests plucking their own down feathers from their breasts and lining them with plant material, these ducks often place them in sheltered spots like among rocks or in ground depressions, safeguarding the eggs and ducklings from potential predators. 
  • Islands frequently serve the eider colonies, providing isolation and protection for nesting ducks and creating a safer environment for raising ducklings away from predators on the mainland.
  • In Iceland, where these birds are under strict protection, it is possible to harvest one pound of down from approximately 35–40 nests without causing any disruption to the breeding cycle.
  • The farmers in Iceland are involved in a 10000-year-old annual harvest of the downs of these common eiders.
  • Iceland is one of the largest producers of eiderdown fibres.
  • Each bird nest produces about 15-17 grams of eiderdown per year, or about 0.5-0.6 ounces.


  • Eiderdown is known for its excellent insulation properties, providing warmth without excessive weight. The down clusters trap and retain air, creating a layer of insulation that helps regulate body temperature.
  • The fibres of eiderdown are lightweight which makes eiderdown products comfortable without being overly heavy.
  • Eiderdown fibres are exceptionally soft and fine, creating a luxurious and plush texture.
  • Eiderdown has a high capacity for shape retention, which allows it to maintain its fluffy and voluminous appearance, providing a fuller and more inviting bedding product.
  • Eiderdown is breathable, allowing air to circulate through the material.
  • While eiderdown is delicate and requires proper care, its natural durability allows it to maintain its shape and insulation properties over time when handled with care.

Typical uses

  • Eiderdown serves as a warm filling for jackets, pillows, quilts, and sleeping bags, providing warmth and comfort.