Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

Goldeneye

[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Bucephala clangula | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] Goldeneye | [FR] Garrot a oeil de or | [DE] Schellente | [ES] Porron Osculado | [NL] Brilduiker

Subspecies

Monotypic species

Genus

Goldeneye are small tree-hole nesting northern hemisphere seaducks belonging to the genus Bucephala. Their plumage is black and white, and they eat fish, crustaceans and other marine life.

The Bufflehead was formerly separated in its own genus Charitonetta, while the goldeneyes proper were mistakenly placed in Clangula, the genus of the Long-tailed Duck which at that time was placed in Harelda.

Physical charateristics

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.

Listen to the sound of Goldeneye

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ANSERIFORMES/Anatidae/sounds/Goldeneye.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto


wingspan min.: 62 cm wingspan max.: 77 cm
size min.: 40 cm size max.: 48 cm
incubation min.: 29 days incubation max.: 30 days
fledging min.: 57 days fledging max.: 30 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 6  
      eggs max.: 12  

Range

North America, Eurasia : widespread

Habitat

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

Reproduction

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.

Feeding habits

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.

Video Goldeneye

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPodP_UecXQ

copyright: youtube


Conservation

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
This duck inhabits the forested regions of northern Eurasia and North America, between 55 degrees N and 70 degrees 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
Goldeneye status Least Concern

Migration

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.

Distribution map

Goldeneye distribution range map

Literature

Title Host-parasite relatedness shown by protein fingerprinting in a brood parasitic bird
Author(s): Malte Andersson and Matti Ahlund
Abstract: Brood parasitism as an alternative female breeding..[more]..
Source: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073

download full text (pdf)

Title Nest prospecting by Common Goldeneyes
Author(s): Michael C. Zicus and Steven K. Henives
Abstract: We studied nest prospecting by Common Goldeneye (B..[more]..
Source: The Condor 91:807-812

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