Female Barrow's Goldeneye in Peterborough, Ontario

This female Barrow's Goldeneye is wintering with about 20 Common Goldeneyes on the Otonabee River in Peterborough, Ontario. Here it is compared to a female Common Goldeneye. First found by Iain Rayner and Matt Garvin on 27 January 2020 at Millennium Park. Charmaine Anderson and I observed it under beautiful conditions on 29 January 2020.


VIDEO: Female Barrow's Goldeneye in Peterborough

It has an orange bill with black at the base. The distinct Barrow's shaped head peaks towards the front and sticks out at the back like a mane. Its eye colour is green, indicating its a first winter bird. It acquired this eye colour at about 5 months of age. Adults females have a pale yellow eye, whereas males have a bright yellow eye. Peterborough, Ontario on 29 January 2020.


Female Barrow's at back has a darker head colour. Its bill is shorter and stubbier than on Common. Peterborough, Ontario on 29 Janaury 2020.


The ducks were diving constantly in the swift current of the Otonabee River. Barrow`s Goldeneyes love this habitat. We we wondered what they were eating. A check of the Birds of North America on line said that they eat a variety of crustacean, such as crayfish and mussels. They also eat vegetation, larvae and fish eggs and small fish. Peterborough, Ontario, on 29 January 2020.


Further Reading Link to


Bill Colour and identification of Female Barrow`s Goldeneye  PDF


Bruce Di Labio, Ron Pittaway and Peter Burke