Harlequin Duck

Histrionicus histrionicus

Description 3

Adult breeding males have a colorful and complex plumage pattern. The head and neck are dark slate blue with a large white crescent marking in front of the eye, a small round dot behind the eye, and a larger oval spot down the side of the neck. A black crown stripe runs over the top of the head, with chestnut patches on either side. A black-bordered white collar separates the head from the breast. The body is largely a lighter slate blue with chestnut sides. A black-bordered white bar divides the breast vertically from the sides. The tail is black, long and pointed. The speculum is metallic blue. The inner secondary feathers are white and form white markings over the back when folded. The bill is blue-grey and the eye is reddish. Adult females are less colourful, with brownish-grey plumage with three white patches on the head: a round spot behind the eye, a larger patch from the eye to the bill and a small spot above the eye.

"cool facts" 4

A bird of fast-moving water, the Harlequin Duck breeds on fast-flowing streams and winters along rocky coastlines in the crashing surf.
More than half of eastern North American population of Harlequin Ducks winters in coastal Maine, particularly outer reaches of Penobscot and Jericho bays.
When engaged in behavioral interactions, the Harlequin Duck gives distinctly unducklike squeaks, the source of one of its local names: sea mouse.

Behaviour 3

These birds feed by swimming under water or diving. They also dabble. They eat molluscs, crustaceans and insects. Harlequins have smooth, densely packed feathers that trap a lot of air within them. This is vital for insulating such small bodies against the chilly waters they ply. It also makes them exceptionally buoyant, making them bounce like corks after dives.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Andrew Reding, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND), https://www.flickr.com/photos/seaotter/11013939733/
  2. (c) Andrew Reding, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND), https://www.flickr.com/photos/seaotter/10580650323/
  3. (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin_duck
  4. Public Domain, http://eol.org/data_objects/27673884

More Info

Range Map

iNatCA Map

Color brown, grey, red, white
Animal Bird
Bird Anatidae (ducks geese & swans)