These diving ducks are also called “whistlers” because of the distinctive whistling sound their wings make in flights.
Types of Goldeneyes
Features: Drakes show graceful patterns of black and white plumage, glossy purple heads, white crescent-shaped patches between the eye and bill, steep forehead, and short bill. Females and juveniles have a chocolate-brown head, slate-gray back, wings and tail; adult females have a golden bill.
Habitat: Not common, but usually scattered on lakes, reservoirs and coastal estuaries. They share Snake River habitat with the common goldeneye.
Techniques: Not usually targeted, they are a rare part of a mixed duck bag.
Features: Drakes have a black head with a white spot below and in front of the eye -- rather than the crescent-shaped patch of the barrow's goldeneye -- white neck, breast and flanks and a black back and tail. Hens have a brown head, light neck, breast and belly, brown backs and flanks. Drakes and hens of both common and Barrow's goldeneye have a distinctive golden ring around the pupil.
Habitat: It is a common migrant in northeastern Oregon and winter resident of the Snake, Columbia, Klamath, Rogue and Umpqua rivers.
Techniques: These ducks travel in small groups of two or three and are occasionally associated with large rafts of scaup. Hunters generally shoot them while hunting for other ducks. Because these ducks are mollusk eaters, opinions on their value as table fare are mixed.