Harlequin Duck at Port Washington in Ozaukee County Wisconsin on December 28, 2020

The 1st year male Harlequin Duck put on a nice show today at Port Washington. It hung with Mallards feeding, resting and moving around near the north beach area. For the most part it would be in the middle of the groups of Mallards, must have made it feel safe or one of them. An exciting visiting bird. It was a cold day with the wind on the water, the sunny skies did help. Images were taken on December 28, 2020.

The Harlequin Duck, 1st year male…

The Harlequin Ducks habitat of fast moving water and rocks, this was close to that…

Getting something to eat…

Just moving around…

Giving a nice look here…

Harlequin Duck at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on January 24, 2017

The last few days I have hit the lakefront in Milwaukee with hopes to see the Harlequin Duck that was reported a few days ago. Today and getting into the afternoon finishing up a lap at Lakeshore State Park I spotted the 1st year male Harlequin Duck east of the island out a ways. It was with about 6 Common Goldeneyes. In a few seconds the group of ducks flushed for some reason and they flew north out of sight. I walked to the point at the Sailing Center and came up empty. On the walk back to the Summerfest grounds I relocated the duck out from Discovery World. It was again with a small group of Common Goldeneyes and once again they all flew for some reason but this time to the south. The lake was very calm and I wonder if any movement on shore made them more skittish? I was lucky to get a few shots off before it left. I looked south at all the ducks to the lighthouse and no Harlequin, from there it was ice to the south for awhile. Thanks to Jym M for finding this duck near the Sailing Center a few days ago and getting the word out. A cloudy day with mild temps, a breeze from the northwest made for not a bad day out birding. Images were taken on January 24, 2017.


Harlequin Duck

Binomial name: Histrionicus histrionicus

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 16.5” long, 26” wing span

Weight: 1.3 lb

Normal Range: Normal range for this species is about Yellowstone Park WY, west of there to the coast, north of Yellowstone far up into Canada and then west to the Pacific coast. Some of their range is also the eastern Canadian coast of the Atlantic Ocean.




1st sighting of the Harlequin Duck east of the island at Lakeshore State Park today





Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck, nonbreeding male photographed at North Point in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 5, 2012.

Harlequin Duck

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.