Friday, November 29, 2019

Common Goldeneye

The common goldeneye is a medium sized duck. Males and females look different, but have several common characteristics: the golden-yellow eye from which its name derives and orange/yellow legs and feet. Males have an iridescent green head  that often looks black and a distinctive circular white patch between the eye and the bill. The body is mostly white, with a black back. The female has a brown head and mostly gray body with a white strip around the neck. The bill is mostly black, with yellow at the tip. In flight, the female has extensive white on the inner half of the blackish wing. 
A male (front) and female (back) common goldeneye. The eye of the male jumps out at you, but the head looks black instead of iridescent green. 
A frontal view. The white spot on the head looks like bulging cheeks. 
They tend not to mix with other waterfowl and when feeding they often dive at the same time. 
A group of female common goldeneyes. They were much more common than the males, at least in the groupings I saw. 
Females taking flight. 
The white patches on the inner half of the wing really stand out. 
They are found on lakes and rivers of Canada, the northern U.S., Scandinavia, the Baltic States and northern Russia. They are migratory and spend the winter in more temperate zones on inland waters or protected coastal waters. 
A male (middle right) and female (middle left) common goldeneye swim among female greater scaups. 
A male common goldeneye next to a duck that has just dived. 
I saw common goldeneyes along the causeway near Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake. The males are very distinctive and really stand out. The males I saw were significantly outnumbered by the females. 
The reflections on the water were very fun.

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