Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
Male Goldeneye, Musselburgh, Scotland, January 2001 - click for larger image

Musselburgh, Scotland
January 2001

The Common Goldeneye is found across the northern hemisphere in temperate and arctic zones. It is normally migratory but there are small resident populations in north west Europe.

Male Goldeneye, Musselburgh, Scotland, February 2004 - click for larger image They nest in hollows in trees and this tends to be a limitation to numbers. There has been a small breeding population in Scotland since 1970 and this has been encouraged by erecting nesting boxes in suitable habitat.

In Britain there are about 100 breeding pairs. It is a Schedule 1 bird and so should not be disturbed while nesting.

Female Goldeneye, Musselburgh, Scotland, January 2001 - click for larger image The birds in these photos are probably from Scandinavia and are spending the winter in the Firth of Forth. The first two photos are males and the third is a female. They are in breeding plumage and form their pair bonds before returning to their breeding grounds between February and April.

Their food consists of shellfish and insect larvae which they catch by diving to depths of up to 4 metres.

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