Harlequin Duck

The Harlequin Duck, Histrionicus histrionicus, is a small sea duck. In North America it is also known as Lords and ladies. Other names include painted duck, totem pole duck, rock duck, glacier duck, mountain duck, white-eyed diver, squeaker and blue streak.

Picture of the Harlequin Duck has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike.
Original source: Drake Harlequin Duck, Barnegat
Author: Peter MassasCamera location

The Harlequin Duck is classified as Least Concern. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

The Harlequin Duck, Histrionicus histrionicus, is a small sea duck. In North America it is also known as Lords and ladies. Other names include painted duck, totem pole duck, rock duck, glacier duck, mountain duck, white-eyed diver, squeaker and blue streak. Adult males are slate blue with chestnut sides and white markings including a white crescent at the base of the bill. Adult females are less colourful, with brownish-grey plumage and a white patch on the head around the eye. More

The harlequin duck is named for the classical European theatrical clown who wore a multicolored costume and painted face. Its scientific name comes from the Latin word for actor. Known by early naturalists as circus duck and painted duck, the harlequin drake has a slate blue body, chestnut sides and cap, and white crescents and streaks on his face, shoulders, and back. The female wears muted brown plumage and has three white patches on her face. More

The Harlequin Duck has a large range, estimated globally at 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers. Native to Europe, this bird prefers wetland and marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 190,000 to 390,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Harlequin Duck is Least Concern. More

The harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a cult bird. I came to this conclusion very early in life. I grew up birding in Northern California in the ‘60s and ‘70s when breeding harlequins had been gone so long there they didn’t even qualify as an ornithological memory. These birds had been reasonably widespread in fast-flowing, rocky Sierra streams until the early 1900s. More

A small population of moulting and wintering Harlequin ducks were monitored between July 1994 and May 1995 near White Rock, B.C. In all 72 birds were captured during the wing moult and were banded with individually identifiable coloured tarsal bands. Males arrived in mid-June, moulted in August, and were in their alternate plumage by early October. Females arrived in mid-August and moulted in September. There were three patterns of habitat use over the winter season; some individuals spent the entire period (Aug. More

Harlequin ducks are undoubtedly one of North America's most beautiful yet least noticed waterfowl. Members of the family Anatidae, harlequins are more specifically classified as seaducks. As with the other seaducks, such as eiders, scoters, mergansers, and long-tailed ducks, harlequins spend most of the year on the ocean and only travel inland to breed. During winter they live very close to shore diving in rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal waters to feed on invertebrates. More

A bird of fast-moving water, the Harlequin Duck breeds on fast-flowing streams and winters along rocky coastlines in the crashing surf. More

harlequin ducks were described from fossils, although both were initially placed in a distinct genus: Histrionicus shotwelli is known from Middle to Late Miocene deposits of Oregon, USA and was considered to form a distinct monotypic genus, Ocyplonessa. Histrionicus ceruttii, which lived in California during the Late Pliocene, was at first taken to be a species of the related genus Melanitta. The Harlequin Duck takes its name from Arlecchino, Harlequin in French, a colourfully dressed character in Commedia dell'arte. More

Harlequin Duck PairDistribution / Range: Their breeding habitat is cold fast moving streams in north-western and north-eastern North America, Greenland, Iceland and western Russia. The eastern North American population is declining and is considered endangered. Possible causes include loss of habitat due to hydroelectric projects and loss of life due to oil spills near coastal areas. More

Bird Photos: Rarities: Harlequin Duck in Stockton This female Harlequin Duck was first seen on Sunday, November 20, 2005 by a morning field trip group from the Central Valley Birding Symposium at the Stockton Sewage Treatment Ponds. That evening, the identity of the duck was called into question after some digital images were processed and uploaded to the web. The images showed a duck with a large bill, more scoter-like to several people who had not seen the bird. More

North American RangeThe distinctive Harlequin Duck is a small sea duck with a small bill, short neck, and long tail. Males in breeding plumage are unmistakable with their dark blue color, rufous sides and crown, and striking white patterning on the face, neck, sides, and back. In non-breeding plumage the males are brown with white on the face and a round white spot at each ear. More

The harlequin duck gets its name from the decorated appearance of the male harlequin, because it resembles the colorful costumes worn by "harlequins", who were people dressed as clowns. The male duck has dark, blue plumage, highlighted in black-outlined white striping and spots of white. Its wing-tips are brownish black and its flanks are chestnut-red. The female duck is not as colorful as the male duck. It is uniformly brown and it's marked by three pale patches on its face. More

Female Harlequin ducks resemble female buffleheads: Except for the three white spots on the head, the hen's basic color is black-brown. There also is an oblong white spot behind the eye instead of the circular one seen on buffleheads. Female Harlequins are also duskier and larger and, in flight, show no white patches on their wings, as buffleheads do. Breeding: The Harlequin's range is divided into two separate and distinct regions: the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast. More

Harlequin ducks are sea ducks that breed in remote stream reaches in parts of Canada and Alaska and frequent turbulent coastal marine habitats in winter. Two of the four populations of harlequin ducks are found in North America. The eastern Canadian population breeds in fast-flowing rivers in Labrador and Newfoundland where they have adapted to feeding amongst turbulent rapids and white water. More

The Harlequin Duck drake is blue-gray with white streaks and patches rimmed with black. It has a white crescent on its face, a white spot behind the eyes and a white oval behind that. It has a reddish stripe on the crown and the same color on its flanks. The hen has a brown head and body, a white spot behind the eye and a whitish patch at the base of the bill. More

The Harlequin Duck gets its English name from characters in Italian comedy. More

harlequinduck The harlequin duck is a small diving sea duck 13-20 inches in length with a wingspan of 22-26 inches. It has a small gray bill and round white spots on the sides of its face. The male has a slate-gray body with rusty-red sides and white streaks on his chest, neck, and wings. He has a white crescent-shaped mask on his face. The female has a brownish-gray body with a pale cream belly with brown spots. More

Picture of Histrionicus histrionicus above has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial.
Original source: Caleb Slemmons
-Caleb Slemmons -Author: Caleb Slemmons
Permission: Some rights reserved
Order : Anseriformes
Family : Anatidae
Genus : Histrionicus
Species : histrionicus
Authority : (Linnaeus, 1758)