Monday, June 17, 2013

Barrow's Goldeneye

Barrow's Goldeneye -  Bucephala islandica

This duck was named after Sir John Barrow, Secretary to the British Admiralty, who was committed to find the Northwest Passage (NWP). Barrow's Goldeneye are very common in the North Atlantic, which is the Western entrance to the NWP. The species name refers to Iceland, home to the largest breeding population in the world.

In Alberta, Barrow's Goldeneye are not common and mostly we see the Common Goldeneye. I was happy to see this male Barrow's Goldeneye on Father's Day in Discovery Duck Pond, a first for me along this part of the Elbow River Valley. 

In contrast, last summer, my daughter Christine and I visited Iceland where we saw the reverse distribution. Iceland has more Barrow's Goldeneye in the summer than any other country, but no Common Goldeneye.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003. 

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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