Common Goldeneye

Bucephala clangula




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale green or gray green

Number of Eggs:

5 - 19

Incubation Days:

28 - 32

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In snags.

Nest Material:

Lined with down.





Common Goldeneye: Medium-sized diving duck with white-striped black upperparts and 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. Female has mottled gray-brown back, chestnut-brown head, white neck ring, gray breast, white belly, yellow eyes, and yellow-tipped bill (bill may be all gray). Juvenile resembles female but has dark eyes and bill.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Common Goldeneye: Five to nineteen pale green or gray green eggs are laid in a down-lined tree cavity; often uses the same cavity in successive years. Nest is usually located near a pond, lake, or river, but may be found in woodlands up to a mile from water. Incubation ranges from 28 to 32 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Common Goldeneye: Feeds on insects, crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, and aquatic plants; forages by diving from the surface.


Common Goldeneye: Call is a high-pitched "jeee-ep."

Similar Species

Common Goldeneye: Barrow's Goldeneye has glossy purple-black head and crescent-shaped spot on face.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X