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Barrow's goldeneye        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Male Barrow's goldeneyes resemble common goldeneyes, but have more angular heads with a purple sheen, stubbier bills, darker backs, and a teardrop-shaped white patch in front of the eye (instead of a round one).   Females have yellowish beaks and a more abrupt forehead than the female common goldeneye.  One photo shows a female Barrow's with a male of the same species and another male common goldeneye.   Both species dive for their food and have amusing head-tossing courtship displays with squeaky cries, and 'submarine'-like threat displays (below, left).   Mating is followed by a bizarre behavior in which the male grips the female's head or neck feathers and spins her around in the water a few times (below right).  The pictures were taken in the Shoreline Lake park wetlands in Mountain View, California.

  • Canon 1D Mk. II or 1D4, 500 mm IS lens plus 2X converter or 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter, many with fill-in flash (2006, 2010)