Living Bird Magazine
Barrow's GoldeneyeBucephala islandica
- ORDER: Anseriformes
- FAMILY: Anatidae
A medium-sized black-and-white diving duck, the Barrow's Goldeneye was originally described from a population living in Iceland. It is, however, primarily a duck of the western mountains of North America.More ID Info
- Porrón Islándico (Spanish)
- Garrot d'Islande (French)
Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.
- Cool Facts
- The Barrow's Goldeneye is rather long-lived for a duck, with one individual reaching 18 years of age. Most females do not breed until they are three years old.
- Like the Common Goldeneye, the Barrow's Goldeneye is not too particular about holding on to its own offspring. A female may lay eggs in the nest of another goldeneye or other species of cavity-nesting duck. Once the ducklings come out of the nest, the broods of different females often come together and are taken care of by a single female. The young ducklings are highly independent, feeding on their own, and require little parental care.
- For a species with such widely separated populations, it is perhaps surprising that the Barrow's Goldeneye shows little variation from place to place. Those breeding in North America are essentially identical on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Female Barrow's Goldeneyes breeding in Iceland do not get as extensively yellow bills as the North American birds, but have only a yellow or orangish band on the outer third of the otherwise dusky bill.
- The oldest Barrow Goldeneye recorded was a male who was at least 15 years, 4 months old.