Barrow's goldeneye

Barrow brilduiker

Barrow's goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)

The Barrow's goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) is a diving duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Barrow brilduiker
English name:
Barrow's goldeneye 
German name:
French name:
Garrot d'Islande
Scientific name:
Bucephala islandica

Scientific classification




Head with shaggy crest black, glossed with purple and green iridescents, mainly looks purple. Large white, crescentic mark between bill and eye. Head has steep, almost bulging, forehead higher then rest of crown, Neck, breast, belly and flanks pure white. except for small black extinctions from mantle down side of breast in front of closed wing and blackish border to upper flanks; some blackish mottling on thighs and sides of vent. Upperparts, including tail black; white centers to scapulars, which are rounded-ended, from line of six to seven white patches above closed wing. Upper wing has black primaries and there converts, but white seconderies and most of forewing, separated by narrow black band, and with board black leading edge; under wing gray-brown, with only seconderies white. Short stout bill black. Legs and feet yellowish-orange. Iris bright yellow . 

Smaller then male. Rounded head and upper neck dark chocolate brown, sometimes with slight purplish gloss, and with shaggy crest; top of head flattish profile. Narrow white neck collar above dusky grey brown breast, which forums broad band above whitish belly; flanks, vent and under tail -converts grey-brown. Upperparts brownish- black, mottled blue-grey, with white tips, to scapulars; rump grey, tail blackish. Upper wing has black primaries and there converts, a thin Grayish line separating the white seconderies from a small white patch on upper wing converts; under wing gray-brown, with only seconderies white. Bill Breeding: Bright orange with black tip. Some individuals have black band across nostrils. Nonbreeding Brownish-black with a light orange hue. Legs and Feet .

But darker above and on wing converts. Males have Dark brown almost black head with a purplish tinge. Show white on face late in first winter. and some white on flanks. Also some coloring on scapulars.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Barrow's goldeneye measures approximately 40-48 centimeters. The female measures approximately 40-48 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 1240-1310 gram. The female will weight about 1220-1280 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

Barrow's goldeneye are generally winter-hardy and sociable. They are preferably kept on a large area of clean, cold, deep water, at least some of which (preferably half the area) should be more than 60cm and preferably more than 1m deep. As with other diving ducks, Barrow's goldeneye's are relatively ungainly on land and ponds should have shallow sloping banks. Some cover along the pond edges will generally be appreciated. Preferred nesting sites vary greatly within this group, from open ground nesting to thick vegetation and tree holes.


Large area of clean, deep, preferably running water is important, this providing natural food to supplement the diet. Cover should also be provided. High quality floating pellets (e.g. trout pellets) and animal material, such as insectivorous diet has been recommended previously in the absence of specialized diets.

Difficult to breed. Secluded ground-level and raised nest boxes should be provided. Eggs laid mainly April to May. Ducklings are delicate and easily stressed. Ducklings may be given high-protein (35%) starter crumbs and live food, and provided with access to deep water for swimming from an early age.

The female Barrow's goldeneye usually lays from 6-12 cream to pale buff eggs and incubates them for 29-31 days.

Artificial incubating:

The ideal relative humidity for incubating most waterfowl eggs is 55% (ground nesters) and 40% (cavity nesters). The temperature is usually 37.4°C. Set ventilation as recommended by the incubator manufacturer. Eggs must be turned, either automatically or by hand, a minimum of 4 times a day. As the duckling develops there is a loss of water from the egg and the air sac gets bigger. In normal development of an egg with a 29-31 days incubation, the air sac occupies about a third of it three days earlier. Cleanliness is vital and ideally eggs should be moved to a separate hatcher at this point, where the humidity should be increased to 65% and even higher once they have pipped internally.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Barrow's goldeneye is 11 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young diving duck at around 12 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it's good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Lundi Micro 35
Floatable special rearing feed for all ornamental waterfowl species, even for problematic eaters. This ideally balanced complete feed with 35% protein content forms the basis for healthy growth and lifelong vitality. Made exclusively from wholesome and selected raw materials, Lundi Micro is also ideally suited for the year-round feeding of waterfowl.
Maintenance food:
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit
Lundi Exquisit

Floatable special complete food for sea birds with the highest nutritional requirements. Each chunk contains the complete nutrient spectrum. The high protein content of 35% ensures a healthy and species-appropriate diet. Spiral algae give a more magnificent coloration of plumage and sea salt promotes the salt gland.

Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special
Lundi Ibis See-Ente special

Floating special complete food for sea birds with the highest nutritional requirements thanks to a particularly high protein content of 45%.

Ideal for daily feeding in animals that eat a lot of protein in their natural habitat. A must for "fish eaters".

Europese soort

Het is niet verboden om deze vogels te houden die van nature in Nederland voorkomen, op voorwaarde dat deze vogels in gevangenschap zijn geboren; nakweek dus. Deze vogels zijn voorzien van een gesloten pootring. Het is wel verboden om deze vogels te houden die in het wild gevangen zijn. Alleen bepaalde instanties, zoals vogelasiels en vogelhospitalen, zijn bevoegd om jonge en gewonde wilde vogels te houden. Deze bescherming van vogels wordt vormgegeven door schadelijke handelingen te verbieden zoals:het doden, verwonden, vangen, bemachtigen en met het oog daarop opsporen van vogels (art. 9 Flora- en faunawet); het opzettelijk verontrusten van vogels (art. 10 Flora- en faunawet);het beschadigen, vernielen, uithalen, wegnemen en verstoren van nesten, holen of andere voortplantings- of vaste rust- of verblijfplaatsen van vogels (art. 11 Flora- en faunawet);en het zoeken, rapen, uit het nest nemen, beschadigen of vernielen van eieren van vogels (art. 12 Flora- en faunawet).

Photos of the Barrow's goldeneye

Videos of the Barrow's goldeneye