This medium-sized diving duck
is 17 to 19 inches long and weighs anywhere from
17 to 46 ounces. It is characterized by its
chunky body and large head with steep forehead.
The male is white with black back and head and a
crescent-shaped white spot on the face; a large
white patch across the base of each wing is
conspicuous in flight. The female is slightly
smaller than the male. Her back, wings, and tail
are slate gray; her flanks, belly, and breast are
white. The male's bill is black, while the
female's is mostly yellow.
Distribution and Habitat
Barrow's goldeneyes breed from
central Alaska southward through the Rocky
Mountains to Oregon and Idaho, as well as in
eastern Quebec and Iceland. Their winter range
overlaps the southernmost portions of their
breeding range and extends through the Rockies
into central Colorado, with some populations
wintering in northern California and others
making their way to the American Southwest.
Alkaline lakes are the
preferred habitat during the breeding season,
while rocky coasts are preferred during the
Female Barrow's goldeneyes will
lay their eggs in the nest of any species of
cavity-nesting duck. Once hatched, ducklings of
several broods are taken care of by a single
female. Ducklings are highly independent,
however, and actually require little parental
care besides protection from predators.
One of the longest living of
the ducks, Barrow's goldeneyes may reach an age
of up to 18 years. In fact, most females don't
even breed until after reaching their third year.
These diving ducks feed on
bottom-dwelling aquatic invertebrates, fish eggs,
small fish, and some vegetation.
genus & species Bucephala islandica
All About Birds http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barrows_Goldeneye/id
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