The head on the Barrow's Goldeneye drake has a purplish sheen with a crescent shaped white spot in front of the yellow eyes. The back is black with rows of white spots. The chest, flanks and belly are white. The hen has a brown head and orange bill with a black tip. Her sides and back are gray and the underside is white.
Weight: 2 3/4 lbs.
These are active, strong-winged fliers moving singly or in small flocks, often high in the air. Distinctive wing-whistling sound in flight has earned the name of whistlers.
Goldeneyes generally move south late in the season; most of them winter on coastal waters and the Great Lakes. Inland, they like rapids and fast water.
Barrow's goldeneye, predominantly a Westerner, is less wary than the common goldeneye.
Hens of both species are look-alikes.
Drakes have a piercing speer-speer—hens a low quack. Both are usually quiet.