Barrow's Goldeneye Bucephala islandica


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2020 Least Concern
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 16,900,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 21,400,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 175000-200000 poor estimated 2020
Population trend Stable estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 6.5 - - -

Population justification: The European population is estimated at 800-900 pairs, which equates to 1,600-1,800 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015); however Europe represents <5% of the global range. Latest wintering surveys in 2017 recorded 7,700 individuals in the eastern Canadian population (with 80% of this population found on the St. Lawrence Estuary and Gulf), with a further 500 individuals wintering in the Maritime provinces and 100 individuals in Maine (Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee 2020). The western Canadian population has recently been estimated at 260,000 individuals, with 18,300 individuals present in the Central Interior Plateau Region (observed in 2019; Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee 2020). The recent Partners in Flight (2019) reassessment estimates the North American population size to be 180,000 mature individuals. The Alaskan population is unknown, as surveys will usually combine Barrow's and Common Goldeneyes Bucephala clangula when counting (J-P. Savard in litt. 2020). The overall population is therefore tentatively placed in the band 175,000-200,000 mature individuals, roughly equating to 260,000-300,000 individuals, though this number requires confirmation.

Trend justification: This species was shown to have undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (171% increase over 40 years, equating to a 28.3% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). The Partners in Flight (PiF 2019) reassessment of North American birds however showed that between 1970 and 2014, the population trend was uncertain or slowly decreasing. Similarly, the recent North American Breeding Bird Survey recorded a 56% decline between 1966 and 2015, assuming a constant rate of decline (Sauer et al. 2017). Historical records also show that the population was thought to be declining by an estimated 1.26% yearly between 2000 and 2015 (Sauer et al. 2017). However, these decline rates are non-significant, with a large uncertainty in the overall population trend. Similarly, the British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey showed that the population had declined across the Strait of Georgia at a rate of 4.3% a year from 1999-2011 (Crewe et al. 2012), translating to over 50% decline within a 3-generation period (19.5 years; Bird et al. 2020). However, declines across the Salish Sea are not as significant (Crewe et al. 2012, G. Sorenson in litt. 2020, Ethier et al. in prep). The western Canadian population has additionally seen stability over the past two decades, with the eastern population thought to have increased by 30% between 2014 and 2017 wintering surveys (Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee 2020). The Icelandic population generally fluctuates as the species moves throughout suitable habitat ranges, with an increase recorded between 2008-2011 in Mývatn and Laxár, a decline from 2011 to 2012, and then higher numbers seen in 2018 (Kolbeinsson et al. 2019). The European population trend is unknown (BirdLife International 2015). Thus, based on available information, localised declines and fluctuations (which are largely statistically non-significant), as well as unreliability in survey methods are thought to be unrepresentative of the overall population. The population is therefore considered to be stable throughout most of its range (Eadie et al. 2020).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Canada N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Czechia V Extant
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) V Extant
France V Extant
Germany V Extant
Greenland (to Denmark) N Possibly Extinct
Iceland N Extant Yes
Montenegro V Extant
Norway V Extant
Russia V Extant
Russia (European) V Extant
Serbia V Extant
South Korea V Extant
Spain V Extant
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) V Extant
United Kingdom V Extant
USA N Extant Yes Yes Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Iceland Myvatn - Laxa
Iceland Veidivotn
Iceland Sogid -Thingvallavatn
Iceland Brúará
Iceland Laugarvatn - Apavatn - Bruara
Canada English Bay and Burrard Inlet
Canada Jervis Inlet/McRae Islet
Canada Mussel and Kynoch Inlet and Sheep Passage
Canada Bonaventure Island
Canada Banc de Carleton
Canada Shigawake-Newport
Canada Pointe Saint-Pierre et île Plate
Canada Cap d'Espoir
Canada Barachois de Malbaie
Canada Baie de Gaspé
Canada Péninsule de Forillon
Canada Îles Les Boules
Canada Marais de Pointe-au-Père
Canada Marais de Gros-Cacouna
Canada Île aux Basques et Les Razades
Canada Baie Comeau
Canada Baie des Escoumins et Grandes-Bergeronnes
Canada Tadoussac
Canada Batture Batture aux Alouettes and mouth of Saguenay River
Canada Baie des Rochers
Canada La Malbaie–Pointe-au-Pic
Canada Île aux Hérons Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Canada Canal de Beauharnois
USA To be deleted after testing
USA Glacier Bay & Icy Strait
USA Prince William Sound
Iceland Oxarfjordur

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Boreal suitable breeding
Forest Temperate suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 3000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Wood & pulp plantations - Agro-industry plantations Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Reduced reproductive success
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Salvelinus fontinalis Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Dendroctonus ponderosae Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Indirect ecosystem effects, Species mortality
Residential & commercial development Tourism & recreation areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Bucephala islandica. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022.