© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, Kari Pihlaviita, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Bucephala clangula

  • Name also: Common Goldeneye
  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: A stocky medium-sized diving duck with a large rounded head. Male larger than female, plumage metallic black and white; female has brown head and grey back. Both sexes have white wing panels, and their wings make a characteristic whistling noise as they fly.
  • Size: Length 40–48 cm, wingspan 62–77 cm, weight 0.5–1.1 kg.
  • Nest: In a hole in a tree or a nest box.
  • Breeding: 6–12 eggs laid in April–May, incubated by female for 27–32 days. Ducklings remain in nest for 1–1.5 days and then jump out down to the ground, usually in the morning. Ducklings learn to find food for themselves very soon, but stay together in a brood with their mother for some time, but they become independent before they are fully grown. Ducklings learn to fly within about 2 months.
  • Distribution: Breeds around inland and marine waters throughout Finland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 170,000–220,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Mainly by night. Some birds winter in Finland, but most leave between September and November for southern parts of the Baltic Sea, the North Sea or Central and Southern Europe. Thrives well in harsh conditions. Among the first migratory birds to return to Finland in March–April.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: Males’ courtship call said to sound like ice cracking. Females make a rattling “brra brra…” call.

Goldeneyes are diving ducks with large rounded heads. They are fairly common in Finland, and may be hunted during the hunting season. Their heads may appear somewhat triangular in shape due to the tapering profile of their crowns.

Males in breeding plumage (from October-November to June) appear mainly white when swimming, though their heads, the upper part of their backs and their tail ends are black. Their heads have a green metallic sheen, and a single large white spot beneath each eye. Females’ heads are dark brown, and their bodies are generally grey, with a narrow white neck ring and some white on their bellies. Goldeneyes’ legs are yellowish. Their bills are black, through in spring mature females have a yellow ring around their bills just behind the tip. Goldeneyes’ irises are a golden yellow colour as their name suggests.

Other species from the same family

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