Common Goldeneye

Bucephala clangula

A Common Goldeneye
Photo courtesy of Daniel Sörensen

The Common Goldeneye is a mid-sized diving duck that inhabits both fresh and salt waters across the northern hemisphere. There are two breeding populations, an American and a Eurasian. Outside the breeding season they are social ducks, found in large rafts on lakes and coastal waters.

Adult males have a circular white spot on the face just behind the bill. Females lack this distinguishing spot. The eye, of course, is a golden yellow in the adult male. In the female is is pale yellow to white. The ducklings are hatched with grayish brown eyes. As they age, the eyes turn purplish blue, then blue, then greenish blue until they are a pale greenish yellow at 5 months. They gain the adult color during their first winter.

Common Goldeneyes usually nest in trees, but occasionally will use animal burrows near the water. Clutches average 10 eggs and under natural conditions incubation may range from 27-32 days.

Immature Common Goldeneyes

Another shot of the Goldeneye at the top of the page
Photo courtesy of Daniel Sörensen



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