Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck

Taxobox
name = Harlequin Duck
status = LC | status_system = IUCN3.1



image_width = 200px
image_caption = Adult drake
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Anseriformes
familia = Anatidae
genus = "Histrionicus"
genus_authority = Lesson, 1828
species = "H. histrionicus"
synonyms ="Ocyplonessa"
binomial = "Histrionicus histrionicus"
binomial_authority = (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Harlequin Duck, "Histrionicus histrionicus", is a small sea duck. In North America it is also known as Lords and ladies. Other names include painted duck, totem pole duck, rock duck, glacier duck, mountain duck, white-eyed diver, squeaker and blue streak.

Adult males are slate blue with chestnut sides and white markings including a white crescent at the base of the bill. Adult females are less colourful, with brownish-grey plumage and a white patch on the head around the eye. Both adults have a white ear patch.

Their breeding habitat is cold fast moving streams in north-western and north-eastern North America, Greenland, Iceland and western Russia. The nest is usually located in a well-concealed location on the ground near a stream. They are usually found near pounding surf and white water.

They are short distance migrants and most winter near rocky shorelines on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. They are very rare vagrants to western Europe.

These birds feed by swimming under water or diving. They also dabble. They eat molluscs, crustaceans and insects. Harlequins have smooth, densely packed feathers that trap a lot of air within them. This is vital for insulating such small bodies against the chilly waters they ply. It also makes them exceptionally buoyant, making them bounce like corks after dives.

The eastern North American population is declining and is considered endangered. Possible causes include loss of habitat due to hydroelectric projects and loss of life due to oil spills near coastal areas.

Today, this is the only species of its genus. Two prehistoric harlequin ducks were described from fossils, although both were initially placed in a distinct genus: "Histrionicus shotwelli" is known from Middle to Late Miocene deposits of Oregon, USA and was considered to form a distinct monotypic genus, "Ocyplonessa". "Histrionicus ceruttii" which lived in California during the Late Pliocene was at first taken to be a species of the related genus "Melanitta".

The Harlequin Duck takes its name from Arlecchino, Harlequin in French, a colourfully dressed character in Commedia dell'arte. The species name comes from the Latin word "histrio", "actor".

References

* Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
* National Geographic, November 1993 "Bird of White Waters", by Douglas H. Chadwick

External links

* [http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Harlequin_Duck.html Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Harlequin Duck]
* [http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i1550id.html USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter - Harlequin Duck]
* [http://www.sdakotabirds.com/species/harlequin_duck_info.htm South Dakota Birds and Birding - Harlequin Duck Information and Photos]
* [http://www.enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?recnum=BD0416 eNature.com - Harlequin Duck]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Harlequin duck — Harlequin Har le*quin (h[aum]r l[ e]*k[i^]n or kw[i^]n), n. [F. arlequin, formerly written also harlequin (cf. It, arlecchino), prob. fr. OF. hierlekin, hellequin, goblin, elf, which is prob. of German or Dutch origin; cf. D. hel hell. Cf. {Hell} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • harlequin duck — noun : a small variegated sea duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) chiefly of northern No. America, Iceland, and Siberia with the male being chiefly blue with many white markings and red brown sides * * * a small diving duck, Histrionicus… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Harlequin Duck — puošnioji antis statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Histrionicus Histrionicus angl. Harlequin Duck vok. Kragenente …   Paukščių anatomijos terminai

  • harlequin duck — islandinės antys statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Histrionicus angl. harlequin duck vok. Kragenente, f rus. каменушка, f pranc. arlequin plongeur, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – dančiasnapiai siauresnis terminas –… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • harlequin duck — islandinė antis statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Histrionicus histrionicus angl. harlequin duck vok. Kragenente, f rus. каменушка, f pranc. arlequin plongeur, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – islandinės antys …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • harlequin duck — a small diving duck, Histrionicus histrionicus, of North America and Iceland, the male of which has bluish gray plumage marked with black, white, and chestnut. [1765 75] * * * …   Universalium

  • harlequin duck — noun A North American wild duck, Histrionicus histrionicus …   Wiktionary

  • harlequin duck — /halɛkwən ˈdʌk/ (say hahlekwuhn duk) noun a small North American diving duck, Histrionicus histrionicus, in which the male is bluish grey, marked with black, white, and chestnut …  

  • Harlequin — Har le*quin (h[aum]r l[ e]*k[i^]n or kw[i^]n), n. [F. arlequin, formerly written also harlequin (cf. It, arlecchino), prob. fr. OF. hierlekin, hellequin, goblin, elf, which is prob. of German or Dutch origin; cf. D. hel hell. Cf. {Hell}, {Kin}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Harlequin bat — Harlequin Har le*quin (h[aum]r l[ e]*k[i^]n or kw[i^]n), n. [F. arlequin, formerly written also harlequin (cf. It, arlecchino), prob. fr. OF. hierlekin, hellequin, goblin, elf, which is prob. of German or Dutch origin; cf. D. hel hell. Cf. {Hell} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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