Common Goldeneye Duck
The Common Goldeneye Duck is a medium-sized sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. Their closest relative is the similar Barrow’s goldeneye. Their breeding habitat is the taiga. They are found in the lakes and rivers of boreal forests across Canada and the northern United States, Scandinavia and northern Russia. They are migratory and most winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters at more temperate latitudes. Naturally, they nest in cavities in large trees.
Male – The male common goldeneye duck has a black head with metallic purple sheen, a distinctive white crescent shaped mark near the base of the beak, blackish beak, bright yellow eyes, black back, and tail, with white neck, breast, and under-parts, white markings on the black wings, and the legs and feet are yellowish.
Female – The female common goldeneye duck has a chocolate brown head, a whitish collar, the breast, flank, and vent are grey-brown, a whitish belly, upper-parts are a mottled dark-brown, upper-wing is dark grey-brown with whitish tips, the beak is yellow, and the eyes are pale yellow.
Eclipse – The male common goldeneye duck in eclipse plumage is similar to the female but has a darker head with usually a whitish marking on the face and visible white markings on the wings. The eclipse male differs from the female in having bright yellow eyes and a blackish beak.
Size: – Typical Adult is 17-19 inches.
Food: – Dives for molluscs, crustaceans, aquatic insects, also aquatic plants, and leaves.
Habitat: – Large freshwater wooded lakes, ponds, rivers, and coastal waters mainly in western USA, also eastern USA, Canada, Greenland, and Iceland. Winters on the coast in the south of Iceland, south-western Greenland, eastern Aleutians, and east and west coast of USA.
Breeding Season: – May.
Eggs: – 8 to 14 (bluish-green color).
Notes: – The Barrow’s Goldeneye is a medium sized sea duck and is named after Sir John Barrow. This duck usually nests in tree cavities.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.