Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bucephala islandica

Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) is a medium-sized species of sea duck. Its breeding habitat is wooded lakes and ponds in northwestern North America, but also in scattered locations in eastern Canada and Iceland. In Iceland it is commonly known as husond (house-duck). It is a migratory bird and will winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters. It rarely migrates as far away as Europe and southern North America. Barrow’s Goldeneye is named after Sir John Barrow.

The adult is similar in appearance to the Common Goldeneye. The adult male has a dark head with a purplish gloss and a white crescent at the front of the face. The adult female has a yellow bill.

Barrow’s Goldeneye is a diving bird and forages underwater. It eats aquatic insects, crustaceans and pond vegetation. It usually nests in cavities in trees, but also in burrows or protected sites on the ground. It prefers to not share its habitat with the more populous Common Goldeneye.

Image Caption: Male Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, North Carolina. Credit: Dick Daniels/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)