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L. 40-52 cm (18-21 in)
 Similar Species
Very similar to Barrow's Goldeneye. Note white scalloping on back rather than solid black (Barrow's). Circular facial patch on Common, oblong patch on Barrow's. Male Barrow's Goldeneye has purple gloss on head, but this is hard to distinguish in the field. Hybrids are possible.
Widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
There are 2 subspecies:
Breeds in woodland close to lakes and rivers, in winter and on passage on large freshwaters, estuaries and sheltered bays. Frequently seen on reservoirs and gravel-pits.
They 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).
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.
The male's display consists of throwing his head back onto his back with the bill pointing skywards. They nest in tree holes or nest boxes.
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