March 8, 2016 – Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

Requested by: @derbytup

One subspecies of these ducks is found in Scandinavia, Russia, and other parts of northern Europe, migrating as far south as the Mediterranean. The other is found throughout much of North America, breeding in Alaska and Canada. They eat mostly aquatic invertebrates, fish, and fish eggs, along with some seeds and tubers. Males form groups in the winter and perform elaborate courtship displays. Nesting in tree cavities or nest boxes supplied by humans, females often return to the same area or nest for multiple years. Pairs stay together for several months until the males leave near the beginning of incubation. The ducklings leave the nest about a day after hatching, leaping from the nest cavity, which can be as high as 40 feet (12 meters) off the ground. It is common for females to lay eggs in nests that aren’t their own, including those of other species of duck. Some also abandon their ducklings soon after they hatch. These ducklings then usually join another female’s brood. During territorial disputes some ducklings may also switch broods.