2284. Glaucionetta clangula clangula

(2284) Glaucionetta clangula clangula.

The Golden-eye.

Anas clangula Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed., i, p. 125 (1758) (Sweden). Clangula glaucion. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 464.

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. - Male. A large round white patch on the cheeks, adjoining the base of the upper mandible; rest of the head black, the crown, nape, hind-neck and sides of the head glossed with brilliant metallic green; inner and longer scapulars black; outer scapulars white, the longest black with a white bar across the middle; back, upper tail-coverts and tail black; outer secondaries and their greater and median coverts white; the rest of the coverts and quills black; chin and throat dull black; breast, lower neck and abdomen white; flanks white, the feathers edged with black; under wing-coverts greyish-black; feathers about vent with dark grey bases which show through; under tail-coverts white.

Colours of soft parts. Iris golden-yellow; bill black; legs and feet yellow with black webs. The bill in Summer is sometimes a slaty-blue with dark culmen and nail.

Measurements. Wing, 206 to 231 mm., 197 to 213 mm.; tail about 76 to 90 mm.; tarsus about 34 to 39 mm.; culmen, 30 to 37 mm., 28 to 32 mm.

Weight, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 lbs., 1 1/2 to 2 lbs.

Female. Head and neck brown, with a dull white collar round the base of the latter ; upper parts blackish-brown, the feathers of the mantle with pale grey edges, those on the scapulars whiter; tail grey-brown; lesser wing-coverts dark brown ; median coverts brown tipped with white; the greater coverts white tipped with brown; primaries dark brown; outer secondaries white; inner secondaries dark brown ; upper breast, sides and flanks dark grey, the feathers broadly edged with white, in some cases the white covering most of the outer web; thigh-coverts and vent much mixed with mouse-brown; abdomen and under tail-coverts white, the latter more or less brown on the lateral feathers.

Colours of soft parts as in the male but the bill is never black or slate but brownish-horny; the legs and feet vary a good deal but are always some shade of yellowish-brown, the toes and webs darker or blackish.

Young males are like the females but duller in general colour and have the breast-feathers more or less edged with whitish-buff or pale brown.

Male in eclipse plumage is like the female but always retains the full wing-colour, the pure white well-defined speculum alone sufficing to distinguish it from that sex.

Nestling in down. Upper parts blackish-brown; a white bar across the wing and a white spot on each side of the back near the centre-; a second white spot on each side of the rump and a third just above the thigh; lower parts and sides of head and neck white, the breast, and sometimes round the vent, suffused with brown.

Distribution. Northern Palaearctic region, breeding in both the Arctic and Subarctic parts. In Winter it migrates to the countries round the Mediterranean; Asia Minor to Transcaspia and the whole of Southern Asia as far as Northern India and South Central China. In India it is a rare visitor. Barnes first obtained it on the Indus in Sind or the Punjab in 1860 ; in 1870 Bonavia obtained a fine male from fowlers near Lucknow; Stoker obtained three birds, all young ones, one at Hassanpur and two at Ghazi and, finally, a fourth, a fine drake, near Hassanpur; Barnes obtained another specimen in the Punjab ; Yerbury obtained four specimens round about Attock in 1886; in 1903 Eden shot one in Sadiya, Assam, and saw many, recording also the fact that they are not uncommon above Sadiya. From 1905 to 1910 I saw Golden-eyes in some numbers in the streams debouching from the hills in Northern Assam, whilst in 1911 no fewer than six skins were sent to the Bombay Museum for identification, all having been obtained in North-West India.

Nidification. Normally the Golden-eye breeds during late May and all June, depositing its eggs in natural hollows of trees or occasionally, in holes in banks. It also often lays its eggs in nesting-boxes which the Finns and Laps put up for the purpose, whilst another very favourite site is under the huts which are put-up everywhere in which to store grass or hay. These huts are all built on whole pine-logs, raised on stones or other logs, about a foot to two feet from the ground, leaving a hollow below where all sort of debris collects. Here the Golden-eye finds all sorts of holes and corners in which she can lay her eggs in perfect peace and safety, unless a Tufted Pochard has already taken possession. She makes little, if any, nest but the grey down she plucks from her own body is exceptionally thickly placed under and all round the eggs. These latter number anything from six to twelve and are in colour the greenest eggs of all the species of ducks which visit or breed in India. Two hundred eggs average 55.2 X 42.5 mm.: maxima 67.0 x 39.5 and 60.0 x 45.0 mm.; minima 52.0 x 41.0 and 58.2 x 39.2 mm.

Habits. Those of the Pochards. In the non-breeding-season it is a frequenter of the sea-coast but our visitors to India seem to be most often seen on swiftly-running clear-water rivers and streams. In the Subansiri and other rivers of Assam they were equally at home in the torrents and in the still, deep pools. They feed there almost entirely on fish, freshwater prawns and small mollusca, which is similar to their food when frequenting the coast, though a little vegetable may be added in the shape of seeds and shoots of aquatic plants. Their voice is a low croak but they are said to,have a loud, harsh note during the breeding-season.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.6 1929.
Title in Book: 
2284. Glaucionetta clangula clangula
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Golden Eye
Bucephala clangula clangula
Vol. 6
Term name: 

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith