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."
Common Goldeneye: Male Barrow's Goldeneye has crescent-shaped spot in front of eye and glossy purple-black head.