16" Long, by 6" Wide, by 5" High
The Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a small sea
duck. The male has a slate blue body accented with white and black
markings and chestnut flanks. Females are a dull brown with three
white spots on the sides of their heads. Harlequins breed on turbulent,
upland rivers and streams and winter along rugged coastlines. In
spring they congregate at river mouths and estuaries, waiting for
the rivers to thaw. Except when breeding, Harlequins are gregarious,
feeding, molting and wintering on traditional grounds in flocks.
The eastern population of the Harlequin
Duck breeds in northern Québec, Labrador, Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula,
southeastern Newfoundland, and the eastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula.
In all likelihood Harlequin Ducks are also breeding on Baffin Island,
Nunavut and the northern extremes of New Brunswick. Harlequins
winter along the rugged coasts of southern Newfoundland, the Atlantic
Coast of Nova Scotia, in the Bay of Fundy off New Brunswick, the
Gulf of Maine to as far south as the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
The eastern population of the Harlequin Duck was listed as endangered
by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
(COSEWIC) in 1990 because its numbers have declined to a point
below minimum viable population size. However, in the spring of
2001, Harlequin Ducks were downlisted to Species of Special Concern
as COSEWIC viewed the population increase and present positive
population trend as sufficient to take them off the endangered
list. Nonetheless, their habit of staging, molting, and wintering
in flocks in traditional areas leaves the species vulnerable to
human disturbance, and oil pollution. Its breeding habitat is threatened
by a variety of disturbances including hydroelectric development,
forestry, insect control programs, low-level military flying, resource
development and increased access by humans. Illegal hunting, whether
accidental - females and immature Harlequins are difficult to differentiate
from some legally hunted species - or deliberate, takes it toll
on a species that has a naturally low reproductive rate.
Breeds from Alaska to northwestern
Wyoming, and from northern Quebec and Labrador to northern New
Brunswick. Also in Greenland, Iceland, and Siberia.
Winters along Pacific Coast from
Alaska to northern California, and along Atlantic Coast from
Newfoundland to New Jersey. Also in Greenland, Iceland, and along
Pacific Coast southward to Japan.
Mountain streams and rivers, usually
in forested regions; in winter, primarily turbulent coastal waters,
especially in rocky regions.
Insects, fish, and marine invertebrates.