The Golden-eye is the sole Indian representative of a very pretty group of Diving Ducks which is found distributed over a great part of the northern hemisphere. The plumage of these birds is black and white or brown and white.
In the Golden-eyes, the bill is very short and gradually tapers towards the tip. The legs are short and the feet large, as is the case with all the Diving Ducks. The head is not distinctly crested, but the feathers of the crown and of the hind-neck are considerably lengthened. The sexes are differently coloured, but preserve the same pattern of plumage. The dark axillaries and the white speculum should render these birds easy of identification at all ages.