Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

Barrow's Goldeneye at Maxwell NWR

28 Feb 2012 10:19 AM | Anonymous
Hello Birders!

Yesterday, February 12th, 2012, I saw an adult male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at
Lake 13 at Maxwell NWR. It was about 1:30pm when I first spotted it. It
was diving for food among a large group (~30 individuals) of Common
Goldeneyes. I stayed watching it for well over an hour. I looked for a
female, but there either wasn't a female there or I am not knowledgeable
enough (yet) to be able to detect one.

The most obvious field mark of the Barrow's Goldeneye was the mostly black
back with clearly distinct white spots on the wings. This set the Barrow's
apart from the Commons so much so that I was even able to find the
Barrow's when it had its head concealed by an odd angle or tucked into its
back feathers. The white cheek patch, when it was visible, was
dramatically different from the Commons' swimming around it. Also the back
of the head was significantly more elongated and sloped than the
relatively narrow and vertical back of the head of the Commons.

Pictures of the Barrow's Goldeneye adjacent to Common Goldeneyes (for
helpful comparisons) can be found on my Flickr account, which can be
accessed through my blog at

Happy birding,

Collin Adams

Friends of Las Vegas (New Mexico) National Wildlife Refuge

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