Common Goldeneye

common goldeneyeCommon Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) has a seemingly large head for its body according to its genus. Distinct characteristics for common goldeneye drakes include iridescent green heads, bright-white circular cheek patches, and piercing yellow irises. Common goldeneye drakes have short, black bills. Necks, wings, and underbellies are white. Both sexes display bright orange legs. Females display chocolate brown plumage on the head, and have whitish neck, breast, and belly much like that of the drake. In flight, common goldeneye drake have dark wings with prominent, unbroken white wing patch formed by secondaries and secondary coverts. Common goldeneye hens also have short bills, more gray than black, that will have a yellow tip appearing in spring. This differs from the bill of the Barrow’s Goldeneye hen bills that will turn completely yellow. Both sexes have similar black and white wings; drakes display white on the secondaries and coverts while hens have more scattered white. Common goldeneyes are fast fliers, their wings whistling, often heard before seen. Common goldeneye flocks are usually small and compact.