Harlequin Duck, nonbreeding male photographed at North Point in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 5, 2012.
Binomial name: Histrionicus histrionicus
Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans
Description: Slate blue (male) or grayish brown (female) body with white spots or streaks on head, back, and wings. Male also has rust-colored patches on sides.
Size: 13″ – 21.3″ long, 22″ – 26″wingspan
Weight: 17.6 oz. – 25.6 oz.
Habitat: Rocky shores and coastlines in mountains or forests.
Diet: Small insects, spiders, fish, and crustaceans.
Nesting: The female provides all parental care, building a nest in a protected space on the ground, often near water. The female will lay 3 – 9 eggs at a time, laying eggs once per summer. Although the male does not help rear the young, the pair will likely mate for life.
Notes: Harlequin ducks are extremely buoyant due to their tightly packed feathers. These feathers also insulate them from chilly water while they swim and dive.