Male 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
Female 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
Common Goldeneyes are cavity nesters and have
a strong homing tendency, often using the same cavity
in successive years. Female common Goldeneyes nest in
natural tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, or
nest-boxes and lay an average of 9 eggs.
The common Goldeneye, like the Barrow's Goldeneye,
is named for its brilliant yellow iris. Common Goldeneyes
fly in small compact clusters, with their wings making
a distinctive whistle at every wing beat.
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Goldeneye Drake and Hens