Barrow's Goldeneye

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Bucephala islandica

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.

Length: 19"
Weight: 2 3/4 lbs.

illustration of goldeneye hen and eclipse drake

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.

illustration of Barrow's and Common Goldeneye wings

illustration of Barrows drake and common drake

Barrow's goldeneye, predominantly a Westerner, is less wary than the common goldeneye.

Hens of both species are look-alikes.

Barrow's Goldeneye
illustration of typical goldeneye flock patternillstration of goldeneye in flightside view illustration of goldeneye in flight

Drakes have a piercing speer-speer—hens a low quack. Both are usually quiet.