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Goldeneye Ducks - Hebridean Birds Sightings
Western Isles Birds - Goldeneye Ducks- Western Isles.

These birds - lovely chunk sized ducks can be seen in the Western Isles.

The males have a dark green almost black head and a bright yellow eye - hence their name the goldeneye.

Goldeneye ducks used to be thought of as just winter visitors to Scotland, now there are quite a few breeding here.
Eider Ducks Isle of Lewis - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Goldeneye Duck - Bird Sightings - Stornoway - Western Isles
Bird Overview - Ducks - Goldeneyes
Family
Swans, Ducks - Geese
Latin name
Bucephala clangula
Population
Scarce Breeder
Common Winter Visitor
Similar Species
Tufted Duck, Scaup
Pochard
Description

This duck - a lovely bird seen across the Western Isles and Scotland is a slightly chunky duck. The goldeneye has a dome shaped head and is shot necked. The male has a dark green - almost black head and the bright yellow eye.(hence the name). It has a distinctive white patch on its cheek at the base of the black bill. Its plumage is black and white

Females are smaller, and are mottled grey with a chocolate brown head. Like the male the female has black wings but she has a white square patch as opposed to the males stripes.

Goldeneye ducks used to be thought of as just winter visitors to Scotland, now there are quite a few breeding here.



Size
Length - 42 - 50 cm (16 1/2 ins - 19 ins) - Weight 30 - 40g
Habitat
These birds don't really mix well with other ducks and keep themselves much to themselves. These birds like inland lakes and lochs - they like tree cover. The goldeneyes are restricted to water close to the shore and less than 10 m deep. THe goldeneye is a very good diving bird and stays underwater for long periods. THey forage for insects and crustaceans.

Food
Mussels, insect larvae, small fish and plants
Voice
Rasping crooning noises. - female has a grating double note. The goldeneye doesn't actually make much sound - just a a quiet ‘krrr’ is occasionally produced and when displaying, males emit a loud ‘zee-zee’ call. In flight the wings make a whistling, rattling sound

Breeding
Goldeneyes nest in holes in trees in The Western Isles. They are in breeding plumage and form their pair bonds before returning to their breeding grounds between February and April.. A female Goldeneye often lays eggs in the other females nest. She may lay in the nests of other species of ducks as well. Common and Barrow's goldeneyes lay eggs in each other's nests. Other birds such as Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers sometimes lay in the goldeneye's nest too.

There are courtship displays in late winter and spring, where drakes make dramatic head-flicking and bobbing moves to impress females

The goldeneye ducks nest in hollows of mature trees near the water. The eggs are a bluish green colour. Six to 11 are laid, and packed snugly in soft grey feathers


Misc. Info

The Goldeneye's eyes are gray-brown when they hatch and go a purple-blue, then blue, then green-blue as the birds get older. By five months of age they have become clear pale green-yellow.

The eyes will be bright yellow in adult males and pale yellow to white in females



The male Goldeneye in spring displays head-throwing displays, enticing the females to mate even in wintering areas hundreds of miles from where they will nest.



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