Common Goldeneye

Bucephala clangula

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

COGO

Code 6

BUCCLA

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Goldeneye is a medium-sized sea-duck native to the lakes and rivers of Canada, the northern United States, Scandinavia and Russia. During winter months, they will migrate to protected coastal waters or open inland water. Nests are built within cavities in trees, which may be created by Woodpeckers or broken limbs. Scotland has fostered a slow-growing population of the Common Goldeneye by building nestboxes throughout the region. They dive for their food, and typically dine on crustaceans, insects and mollusks. The Common Goldeneye may fall prey to hawks, owls or eagles, but its current conservation rating is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Goldeneye: Medium diving duck, white-striped black upperparts, white underparts. Head is iridescent green-black with white circular patch between yellow eyes and dark gray bill. Wings are dark with large white patches conspicuous in flight. Legs and feet are yellow. Swift, direct flight.


Range and Habitat

Common Goldeneye: Breeds in Alaska and across Canada to Newfoundland and the Maritime Provinces, and south to mountains of Montana and Great Lakes. Spends winters in much of the U.S., wherever it has access to open water. Breeds on wooded lakes and ponds; winters mainly on coastal bays and estuaries.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"zee-zeee", "zee-zee", "jeee-ep"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Females typically return to the areas where they hatched (philopatry), and once they breed, often return to the same nesting site year after year.
  • The Common Goldeneye is the only duck in North America known to derive benefits from lake acidification. Many acid-tolerant insects provide plentiful prey, and most fish cannot live in these environments, thus reducing competition.
  • Their rapid wingbeats produce a loud whistling sound in flight, easily identified even when the birds cannot be seen; hunters call this species the "Whistler."
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Common Goldeneye

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X