Wildlife Spotlight: Harlequin Duck

Wildlife Spotlight: Harlequin Duck

It might be named after a clown, but this duck is no joke.

The Harlequin Duck [Histrionicus histrionicus] is a small sea duck. It takes its name from Harlequin (French Arlequin, Italian Arlecchino), a colorfully dressed character in Commedia dell’arte.  

This duck is one of the most spectacular species of waterfowl in North America, not only for the male’s striking plumage but for the dramatic landscapes that the duck calls home. 

The home range of harlequin ducks is small, both during the breeding season and winter. They are seen in small groups both migrating and in their home range. Their lifestyle is rough on their bodies, and many Harlequin Ducks endure broken bones from a lifetime of being tossed around in the rough water. 


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