The goldeneye is a medium-sized sea duck and is a winter visitor to Ireland mostly between November and April. They nest in cavities in large trees and they return to the same nesting sites year after year. They choose holes in trees made by broken tree limbs as well as those made by large woodpeckers. Goldeneyes are diving birds that forage underwater. They eat crustaceans, aquatic insects and molluscs.
It is amber-listed in Ireland due to its small breeding population and localised range.