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Either of two species of small, yellow-eyed diving ducks that produce a whistling sound with their rapidly beating wings. The common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) breeds throughout the Northern Hemisphere; Barrow's goldeneye (B. islandica) breeds primarily in northwestern North America and Iceland. Both winter mainly in northern coastal waters. Both are about 18 in. (46 cm) long and have a black back marked with white, white sides and breast, and conspicuous white patches in front of the eyes. The head of the common is dark green; that of the Barrow's is purplish black. Both nest in tree cavities and prefer a diet of aquatic invertebrates. They are prized as game birds.
Variants of GOLDENEYE
goldeneye or whistler
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on goldeneye, visit Britannica.com.