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What am I?

A medium sized diving duck breeding in Northern Europe and overwintering in the UK on large lakes and reservoirs. The male is black and white with a large, domed head that has a greenish black sheen to it. It has a conspicuous circular white patch below its golden eye. The female is smaller with chestnut coloured head and grey body. They both have flat, short bills, the female with an orange tip 

How to spot them

Over 20,000 overwinter on the UK’s sheltered shores, lakes, and large rivers. Unlike other duck species, goldeneyes do not gather in large numbers. They are most likely to be spotted individually or in pairs, diving to catch insects, molluscs, and crustaceans. In flight, both sexes show a large area of white on the inner wing. In breeding season, they make a very loud, double whistle sound which can be heard from afar.  

Where to see them

In Essex goldeneye can often be seen at Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, Tilbury, the Stour estuary, Abberton and Hanningfield reservoirs.  

Conservation status

The goldeneye is red listed in the UK

Did you know?

Around 200 pairs have been successfully nesting in Scotland since the 1970s with the help of specially designed nesting boxes put up on trees near water bodies.  

Goldeneye bird

Photo Credit: Sergey Yeliseev