Common Goldeneyes Duck into View at Arkendo Park, Oakville

While merganser watching at Arkendo Park, I kept noticing a couple of rather nondescript female ducks diving steadily away near shore but a good few hundred metres from me. It wasn’t till I walked along the entire path beside Lake Ontario that I met the males and confirmed that these were Common Goldeneye.

Photo of Pair Common Goldeneye Arkendo Park Oakville January

The male Goldeneye, besides the very obvious yellow-gold eyes, has a head that looks black until the sun catches the feathers. Then it shades into irridescent green. It’s not as brightly green as a mallard, but it still looks sharp.

The females have quite an interesting two-toned beak. At first I thought I was imagining it, until I realized that ALL of the females had that glowing patch of yellow.

Photo of Common Goldeneye Pair Arkendo Park Oakville January

These ducks were diving steadily. A check at home of the information on the Cornell University site said that Goldeneye eat aquatic invertebrates. That didn’t exactly tell me what they were feeding on. So I checked a University of Michigan site. It said that although they eat aquatic insects during the breeding season, in the winter they more often live off of fish, crustaceans and mollusks. A bit more hunting around suggested that they will eat zebra mussels.

Photo of Goldeneye Juvenile or Female Arkendo Park Oakville January

I also discovered at home that the immature ducks look somewhat like the females. So possibly some of the Goldeneye I was watching were juvenile males, not females.

Further Reading

Join In
Have you seen Common Goldeneye males try to wow the females with their heads? I haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll be watching for it. Please share your experiences with a comment.


2 thoughts on “Common Goldeneyes Duck into View at Arkendo Park, Oakville

  1. the two drakes on the left were alternately trying to court the female by throwing their heads onto their backs. photographed on the Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway in Metro Vancouver. I sat on a boulder near the shoreline for a few minutes before they showed up and did the “head bobbing” bit.


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