Harlequin Duck Life History


Habitat Rivers and StreamsMountain streams and rivers, usually in forested regions; in winter, primarily turbulent coastal waters, especially in rocky regions.Back to top


Food Aquatic invertebratesInsects, fish, and marine invertebrates.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:4-8 eggs
Number of Broods:1 brood
Egg Length:2.0-2.4 in (5.1-6.2 cm)
Egg Width:1.4-1.6 in (3.6-4.1 cm)
Incubation Period:27-29 days
Egg Description:Pale creamy to pale buff.
Condition at Hatching:Covered in down and able to leave the nest soon after hatching.
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Behavior Surface DiveDives for prey on or near bottom.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere is little information on Harlequin Duck population numbers and trends, but wintering populations in eastern North America are currently much smaller than historical (late 1800s) numbers. However, populations grew in the last part of 20th century. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Harlequin Duck is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List. The species is listed as endangered in Canada, threatened in Maine, and a species of special concern in western states.Back to top


Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Robertson, Gregory J. and R. Ian Goudie. (1999). Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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