Barrow's Goldeneye

Bucephala islandica




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale olive or blue green

Number of Eggs:

5 - 15

Incubation Days:

28 - 34

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

Occasionally on ground., 0 - 55 feet above ground., In tree or rock cavity

Nest Material:

Cavity nester. Use cavities in cliffs, natural tree cavities and old woodpecker holes., Lined with grasses and down.





Barrow's Goldeneye: Medium-sized diving duck with black upperparts, contrasting white shoulder bars, and white underparts. Head is large, glossy, and purple-black with golden yellow eyes and a crescent-shaped white patch behind a usually dark bill. White wing patches are visible in flight. Female has dark brown hood, white collar, dark gray body, white wing patches, and usually yellow-orange bill. Juvenile resembles female but has darker bill; juvenile male has a faint white crescent on face.

Range and Habitat

Barrow's Goldeneye: Breeds in Alaska, western Canada, and the northwest U.S.; also breeds in eastern Canada. Spends winters from southern Alaska, south along coast to central Calif., and locally from southern BC and northern Montana, south to southwestern Arizona, Utah, and Colorado; also winters along East Coast. Preferred habitats include open lakes and small ponds, inland lakes and rivers.

Breeding and Nesting

Barrow's Goldeneye: Five to fifteen pale olive or blue green eggs are laid in a nest in a tree or rock cavity up to 50 feet above the ground; may nest on the ground under a bush. Nest is built by the female and lined with down and grass. Incubation ranges from 28 to 34 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Barrow's Goldeneye: In inland areas during summer and fall, feeds on aquatic insects, crustaceans, and aquatic plants. Along coastal wintering grounds, feeds largely on crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, and some plant material; forages by diving from the surface.


Barrow's Goldeneye: Makes a soft "ka-kaa" during courtship.

Similar Species

Barrow's Goldeneye: Male Common Goldeneye has round (not crescent) spot between eye and bill and glossy green head.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Similar to the upper part of the human neck, located at the back of the crown.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The short feathers overlying the median secondary coverts on the top of the wing. They are located near the back and can be seen as the “first row” of feathers on the birds wing. They are also called marginal coverts and lesser secondary coverts.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X