The Common Goldeneye has a black head with a greenish tinge. It has a steep forehead and a black bill. Below its yellow eyes is a prominent round white spot. Its breast is white as are its flanks. Black and white streaked feathers are on the side of the black back and rump. The hen has a large brown head with a yellow eye, a white collar and a gray body.
Common - Length: 19"
Weight: 2 1/4 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.