Profile Goldeneye     Literature page Goldeneye
[order] Anseriformes

[order] Anseriformes | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Bucephala clangula | [UK] Goldeneye | [FR] Garrot à oeil d’or | [DE] Schellente | [ES] Porrón Osculado | [IT] Quattrocchi comune | [NL] Brilduiker

Brilduiker determination

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The common goldeneye,is named for its brilliant yellow iris. Common goldeneyes fly in small compact clusters, with their wings making a distinctive whistle at every wing beat. Male common goldeneyes have blackish iridescent green heads with a white circular patch between the eye and the base of the bill. The breast, sides, belly, and patch across the secondaries and secondary wing coverts are white. The back, rump, and upper tail coverts are black and the tail is grayish brown. The bill is black and the legs and feet are yellowish. Female common goldeneyes have chocolate brown heads, a whitish neckband, and speckled gray back and sides. The upper wings are brownish black with the middle five secondaries colored white. The bill is blackish becoming yellow near the tip and the legs and feet are yellowish.

Nests are usually located near a pond, lake, or river, but may be found in woodlands up to a mile from water.
Common goldeneyes use brackish estuarine and saltwater bays and deep freshwater habitats during winter time

This duck inhabits the forested regions of northern Eurasia and North America, between 55°N and 70°N. It is breeding in tree holes. The birds visiting the European Union belong to two distinct populations. One is originating from Scandinavia, Finland and western Russia, and wintering mainly in the Baltic and the North Sea but also in smaller numbers on the continental waters of Germany and the lakes around the Alps. It comprises about 300000 individuals, and is constantly increasing. The second population has probably a more eastern origin and is wintering on the middle Danube and in the Adriatic region. It reaches north-eastern Italy and northern Greece. It amounts to about 75000 individuals, but its trends are not well known

Common goldeneyes use brackish estuarine and saltwater bays and deep freshwater habitats in the winter and dive to feed on a wide variety of available animal life. In inland areas during the summer and fall, they feed on aquatic insects, crustaceans and aquatic plants. Along coastal wintering grounds they feed largely on crustaceans, mollusks, small fishes, and some plant material.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 2,100,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]

Common goldeneyes breed across the forested areas of Canada, Minnesota, Michigan, Alaska, and the northeastern United States. They are most abundant among lakes of the Canadian boreal forests, especially where lakes or deep marshes have substantial invertebrate populations. They are cavity nesters and have a strong homing tendency, often using the same cavity in successive years. Nests are usually located near a pond, lake, or river, but may be found in woodlands up to a mile from water. Female common goldeneyes nest in natural tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, or nest-boxes and lay an average of 9 eggs.

Partial Migratory; winters at sea in North of range, or at lower latitudes South to Florida, Mediterranean basin, Southern Rusia and Eastern China, occasionally further South. At times well inland (e.g. Central Europe); present all-year in some areas of North West Europe. In North America some may move from the interior to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and south along the Mississippi and Snake Rivers. Along the Atlantic coast, birds winter from Newfoundland to Florida and on the Pacific coast from the Aleutian Chain south to California. The St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes also provide wintering habitat.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 62 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 77 cm
  4. size min.: 40 cm
  5. size max.: 48 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 29 days
  8. incubation max.: 30 days
  9. fledging min.: 57 days
  10. fledging max.: 66 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 6
  13. eggs max.: 12
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Brilduiker status Least Concern
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