Bufflehead x Common Goldeneye hybrid, Bucephala albeola x B. clangula


Bufflehead x Common Golderneye
This bird is a hybrid of the Bufflehead with one of the goldeneye species, probably the Common Goldeneye. It was long thought that Buffleheads did not hybridize; an article published in 2010 was the first documentation in the literature of a Bufflehead x Common Goldeneye. That article pointed out that a number of photographs and videos of Bufflehead x Common hybrids had appeared online in recent years, and the hybrid is now recognized by eBird. The bird shown here has the black upperpart feathering of a Bufflehead, the iridescent green head feathering of a goldeneye, and a white bar under the eye that joins the goldeneye loral spot to the white ear patch shared by both sexes of Bufflehead. The orange iris is midway between the brown of the Bufflehead and the yellow of a goldeneye; the bill is likewise a mixture of goldeneye black and orange with Bufflehead pale gray. The underparts and sides are solid white like the Bufflehead's, except for faint reminders of the Common Goldeneye's dark markings on the white scapulars. The head shape suggests that the goldeneye species crossed with the Bufflehead here is the Common. Both Bufflehead and Barrow's Goldeneye have a more forward peak to the crown and a more vertical forehead than this bird shows, so a possible (but as yet not definitively reported) Bufflehead x Barrow's hybrid would be expected to have that feature.


Bufflehead x Common Goldeneye