Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)


French: Garrot d’Islande German: Spatelente Spanish: Porrón islándico

Anas islandica

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Sometimes placed in genus Glaucionetta. Infrequent hybridization with B. clangula in the wild. Monotypic.


Breeds from S Alaska to N California and Wyoming; Labrador and St Lawrence River, in E Canada; Iceland. Some populations sedentary (Iceland, Rocky Mts), whereas others winter in W North America from Alaska S to California and N New Mexico, and locally on NE coast of Canada.

Descriptive notes

42–53 cm; male 1000–1387 g, female 638–1056 g; wingspan 67–84 cm. Male very similar to less bulky-looking B. clangula, with upper and neck... read more


Generally rather silent except during courtship, when male gives burping or grunting sound and a... read more


Breeds on freshwater (especially alkaline) lakes, pools (usually with little emergent or floating... read more

Food and feeding

Winter diet consists mostly of molluscs and crustaceans (e.g. Mytilus edulis in Pacific North America), whereas summer foods are... read more


Starts May, with egg-laying usually from mid May in Iceland (slightly earlier if in nestboxes), with young hatching in first half of Jul or... read more


Not truly migratory, although distances of up to 1200 km covered by some individuals (sometimes in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Entire world population probablyc. 200,000 breeding birds, of which c. 150,000 occur in W North America (c. 45,000 in Alaska, 70,000... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).