A medium-sized black-and-white diving duck, the Barrow's Goldeneye was originally described from a population living in Iceland. It is, however, primarily a duck of the western mountains of North America.
The Barrow's Goldeneye is rather long-lived for a duck, with one individual reaching 18 years of age. Most females do not breed until they are three years old.
Like the Common Goldeneye, the Barrow's Goldeneye is not too particular about holding on to its own offspring. A female may lay eggs in the nest of another goldeneye or other species of cavity-nesting duck. Once the ducklings come out of the nest, the broods of different females often come together and are taken care of by a single female. The young ducklings are highly independent, feeding on their own, and require little parental care.
For a species with such widely separated populations, it is perhaps surprising that the Barrow's Goldeneye shows little variation from place to place. Those breeding in North America are essentially identical on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Female Barrow's Goldeneyes breeding in Iceland do not get as extensively yellow bills as the North American birds, but have only a yellow or orangish band on the outer third of the otherwise dusky bill.Bibliographic Citation
: "Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)." The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Citation Link
Accessed 28 Jan 2014.