Common Goldeneye

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Bucephala clangula

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.

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.

Common 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.