<< Previous Next >>

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-01-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital JPEG
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite bird in-flight photos 3 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2011-05-15 4:32
Viewed: 2653
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A photo of a Common Goldeneye in winter plumage. I made this photo last winter a few hundred metres from my house in one of the twelve lakes in the place where I live. These ducks are rare visitors in these lakes.

In the workshop the Goldeneye swimming.

The Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is a medium-sized sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. Their closest relative is the similar Barrow's Goldeneye.

Adult males ranges from 45–52 cm and from 888 to 1400 grams, while females range from 40–50 cm and from 500 to 1182 grams. The species is aptly named for its golden-yellow eye. Adult males have a dark head with a greenish gloss and a circular white patch below the eye, a dark back and a white neck and belly. Adult females have a brown head and a mostly grey body. Their legs and feet are orange-yellow.

Their breeding habitat is the taiga. They are found in the lakes and rivers of boreal forests across Canada and the northern United States, Scandinavia and northern Russia. They are migratory and most winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters at more temperate latitudes. Naturally, they nest in cavities in large trees. They will readily use nestboxes, and this has enabled a healthy breeding population to establish in Scotland where they are increasing and slowly spreading with the help of nestboxes. They are usually quite common in winter around lakes of Britain and some are being encouraged to nest in nestboxes which are put up to try to have them there all year round.

Often the natural tree cavities are made by broken limbs, unless they are made by Pileated Woodpeckers or Black Woodpeckers, the only tree-cavity-making animals who make a cavity large enough to normally accommodate a goldeneye. Average egg size is a breadth of 43.3 mm, a length of 59.3 mm and a weight of 64 grams. The incubation period ranges from 28 to 32 days. The female does all the incubating and is abandoned by the male about 1 to 2 weeks into incubation. The young remain in the nest for about 24–36 hours. Brood parasitism is quite common both with other Common Goldeneyes as well as other duck species and even Tree Swallow and European Starling eggs have been found mixed with goldeneye eggs! The broods commonly start to mix with other females' broods as they become more independent. Goldeneye young have been known to be competitively killed by other goldeneye mothers, Common Loons and Red-necked Grebes. The young are capable of flight at 55–65 days of age.

These diving birds forage underwater. Year-round, about 32% of their prey is crustaceans, 28% is aquatic insects and 10% is molluscs. Insects are the predominant prey while nesting and crustaceans are the predominant prey during migration and winter. Locally, fish eggs and aquatic plants can be important foods. They themselves may fall prey to various hawks, owls and eagles, while females and their broods have been preyed upon by bears (Ursus spp.), various weasels (Mustela spp.), mink (Mustela vison), raccoons (Procyon lotor) and even Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) and red squirrels (Tamiasciurus husonicus).
The Common Goldeneye is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Approximately 188.300 Common Goldeneyes were killed by duck hunters in North America during the 1970s, representing about 4% of the total number of ducks killed in the region during that period. The rate is probably similar today. Both the breeding and winter habitat of these birds has been degraded by clearance and pollution.

Source: Wikipedia

bungbing, cobra112, ramthakur, maurydv, Pentaxfriend, PaulLees, Argus, oldferret, siggi, tuslaw, marius-secan, cirano, Alex99, anel, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

great shot, great capture,

congrats !

ciao, tino

Hello Peter,
Very good capture of this Common Goldeneye in-flight! great sharpness details with very nice water movement and lovely natural colours,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice Sunday,
Best Regards,

Ciao Peter. fantastic flying capture in excelelnt details and contrast. Beuatiful colours.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-05-15 5:02]

Hello Peter,
exciting in-flight capture of this fast bird. The background created by the sea water is so lively and also render a good contrast.
The most exciting is seeing its eyes well featured and also the pattern caused bu the rippling water.
Indeed a pleasure to look!


Impressive capture of this little Duck flying over water, Peter. The pattern of the waves on blue water makes a fine and authentic BG for the subject.
TFS and regards.

  • Great 
  • egres Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 44 W: 2 N: 144] (754)
  • [2011-05-15 5:26]

Hi Peter
Either you are lucky or you are talentd or maybe both, capturing a flying Goldeneye is very difficult. That's a very nice shot of that wintering bird with the natural colors. Maybe a little OE on the speculum.
regards from Québec

Hi Peter,
Fantastic action shot for this lovely duck taken with impressive POV.
The colour of water is fantastic and the composition is good.
Good eye contact.
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2011-05-15 5:52]

Beautiful golden eye just gliding on wonderfully lighted water, its texture is amazing. tfs.

Hallo Peter,
a very beautiful capture of the Common Goldeneye in flight, very good sharpness and impressive eye detail, marvellous colours with a very pleasant contrast against a blue water, excellent point of view and composition
Best regards

Ciao Peter, fantastic inflight capture, wonderful blue BG, fine details, perfect focus, beautiful natural colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, have a good Sunday, ciao Silvio

Ha Peter,

mooi shot van deze Brilduiker in vlucht
Je komt ze niet veel tegen en zeker niet vliegend.
Scherpte en kleuren zijn mooi net als de compositie

TFS Thijs

Hello Peter
Interesting species and impressive photo with excellent composition, wonderful colours and good sharpness.

Wow Peter, what a magnificent action image here my friend, perfecto timing with the wings in a downward position to show the true wing configuration and colours, Wham hit the button just a the right time!!!!,
Amazing sharpness, splendid natural colours and a composition of note, congratulations Peter and have a good Week,
Best Regards,


Great photo, nicely captured. Good colours and lighting. regards yiannis

hallo Peter
mooi eend in vlucht
Met veel details en super kleuren
leuke foto zo vlak boven het water
groetjes lou

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-05-15 9:48]

Hello Peter,
Nice bit od panning work here!
I know how fast Goldeneyes can fly and you caught this female well from a nice lateral POV with excellent sharpness and natural colours against a contrasting water BG. Good focusing on the eye and pleasing composition.
Thanks and have a good week,

Hi Peter,

I like the sense of movement in this shot, the wing tips being slightly blurred. Nice colours, clarity and good ofbg. Nice composition leaving enough room for the bird to fly into.
TFS, kind regards, have a nice week, Bill

Hello Peter,
Excellent sharp shot and fine details, especially because it is in motion. Natural colours and nice composition. Well done!

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-05-15 11:54]

Hello Peter.
Very nice inflight photo of this Goldeneye with a good focus, sharpness, composition, colors and lighting.Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-05-15 12:36]

Hi Peter,a magnificent in-flight pic taken whit impressive sharpness,what a head details!! And i like the water i background,usually there is the sky and this difference is perfect to contrast the bird.Thanks for share,have a nice week,Luciano

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2011-05-15 16:47]

I can see why this bird is called the golden eye, Peter!
Great bird-in-flight capture.
You caught him flying so low and close to the surface of the water.
He seems very intent on getting to where he is going!
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2011-05-15 18:02]

Hello Peter,
Awesome stop action image. Such a gorgeous bird, especially in this winter plumage. Love the fine detail and vivid colors and that golden eye, is a real eye catcher in itself. Great timing and excellent work!!

Pretty nice picture!

Excellent capture with fantastic clarity, focus and splendid colours!

Hello Peter,
Lovely image. Great shot and very difficult to catch it in flight.
Details and colors are impressive. Thanks for sharing this beauty!

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2011-05-16 13:11]

Hello Peter,
A great capture of this beauty in-flight,great colors and sharpness.Wonderful composition and excellent point of view.TFS.

Hello Peter
L'effet est très réussi. et c'est quand même difficile, d'obtenir un si bon résultat.
Merci et bravo

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-05-17 10:38]

Hi Peter.
You have frozen this charming bird in flight amazingly. Superb DOF and details of the entire scene, nice bright colours and captured posture of the wings. Excellent job. My compliments.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-05-18 0:14]

Hello Peter,
Golden eye over blue water.. very pleasant decentred composition for this flying duck picture. The wing almost touches the surface of the water..I suppose it was on the point to "water". The fine ripples of the water give a nice graphical aspect to the shot.
Thanks also for the note.
Kind regards

great capture, i love the water colour, TFS Ori

Hi Peter friend,
A round of applause for this photo !.... What timing! ... The bird seems out of the box! ... Impressive blue BG!

Hello Peter

WOW ! great in-flight shot of the Common Goldeneye,
with a very fine POV and great framing with leaving
that good free space in front, beautiful light,à
great focus sharpness and details, the duck's
flight pose (determination on his eye) and the
waves of the background brings dynamism to the image,



Calibration Check