Common goldeneye


Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

The Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is a medium-sized sea duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
Common goldeneye
German name:
French name:
Garrot à œil d'or
Scientific name:
Bucephala clangula

Scientific classification




Common goldeneyes have blackish iridescent green heads with a white circular patch between the eye and the base of the bill. The breast, sides, belly, and patch across the secondaries and secondary wing coverts are white. The back, rump, and upper tail coverts are black and the tail is grayish brown. The bill is black and the legs and feet are yellowish.

Common goldeneyes have chocolate brown heads, a whitish neckband, and speckled gray back and sides. The upper wings are brownish black with the middle five secondaries colored white. The bill is blackish becoming yellow near the tip and the legs and feet are yellowish.

Smaller and duller chocolate-brown head ( Young males 1st winter show some white patch between eye and Bill and some black plumage starting to show full adult plumage come second winter.). Breast and flanks ,vent and under tail-coverts grey to gray-brown ; belly whitish . Upper parts darker with paler blue-grey tips ( becoming less obvious towards the rear ); tail grey .Upper wing white on seconderies and greater and median coverts ,but divided by narrow black bars on covert tips, with rest of wing blackish brown ; under wing grey brown, with white seconderies Bill Black with yellow-ish orange band behind Black nail ,rarely almost all yellow , But often absent after breeding season .Legs and feet yellowish with black webbing. iris light dark yellow to light blue .

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Common goldeneye measures approximately 45-51 centimeters. The female measures approximately 40-49 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 920-1060 gram. The female will weight about 710-900 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

There are two subspecies:

  • B. c. clangula: noordelijk Eurazië.
  • B. c. americana: noordelijk Noord-Amerika.

Common goldeneye are winter-hardy; a large area of deep (80 cm plus), cold, clear and preferably running water is important, and ice-free water should be available in winter. They are generally considered sociable, although drakes may fight with each other in breeding season, and can be aggressive to other ducks on small ponds while breeding. Mixtures of pellets (including trout pellets) and insectivorous diet as well as fish, meal worms, duckweed has been recommended previously in the absence of specialised diets.

These ducks are fairly easy to breed, breeding regularly in some collections. Seclusion and both ground-level and raised nest boxes should be provided; raised boxes overhanging water are preferred. Laying may occur: from mid-March, often with a second clutch if the first is removed; March to May (European goldeneye), April to May (American goldeneye); usually May (European goldeneye).

Hand rearing of the ducklings is suggested, preferably in groups, with access to water. Ducklings are delicate and easily stressed; daphnia, mealworms and other live food suggested for initial rearing of ducklings, as well as duckweed and rearing food .

Hybrids have been reported with mergansers and diving ducks; with Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator), other Mergus species, Wood duck (Aix sponsa), Aythya spp. and White-winged scoter (Melanitta fusca).

The female Common goldeneye usually lays from 8-11 green-blue eggs and incubates them for 28-32 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 28-32 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 Common goldeneye is 10 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young medium-sized sea 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 Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium

Floating full food for all sea ducks, green ducks, eider ducks and geese, especially in the moulting and breeding phase ideally suited. Packed with wholesome raw materials, natural vitamins and trace elements, this performance food with a protein content of 30% forms the basis for lifelong vitality.

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.

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 Common goldeneye

Videos of the Common goldeneye