Unsorted Wild Birds

Common Goldeneye

The Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is a medium-sized sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. See also Barrow’s Goldeneye.

The name fits; this is the most common goldeneye.

The Common Goldeneye is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.


Adults have yellow eyes.

Adult males have a dark head with a greenish gloss and a circular white patch below the eye, a dark back, and a white neck and belly.

Adult females have a brown head and a mostly grey body.

Distribution / Range:

Their breeding habitat is forested lakes and rivers across Canada and the northern United States, Scandinavia, and northern Russia.

Common Golden Eye

They nest in cavities in large trees. They will readily use nestboxes, and this has enabled a healthy breeding population to establish in Scotland where they are increasing and slowly spreading with the help of nestboxes.

They are usually quite common in winter around lakes of Britain and some are trying to be encouraged to nest in nestboxes which are put up to try and have them there all year round.

Instructions for building a nesting box for the Common Goldeneye.

They are migratory and most winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters at more temperate latitudes.

Relevant Resources


Diet / Feeding:

Common Goldeneyes typically forage underwater. They eat crustaceans, aquatic insects, and small fish.

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae often found under rocks, as well as aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails, and crabs.

Common Goldeneye Ducks

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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