Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 09/04/2014


Photo taken on September  2, 2014


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nature
annkelliott
Anne Elliott
Harlequin Duck
Carburn Park
Histrionicus histrionicus
interestingness#
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Merginae
Genus: Histrionicus
resting on rocks
middle of Bow River
FZ200
side view
birds
duck
female
bird
ornithology
avian
explore2014September05
Canada
Lumix
Alberta
Bow River
Explore
Calgary
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Female Harlequin Duck

Female Harlequin Duck
Not a very inspiring photo, but a group of us were lucky to see this female Harlequin Duck at Carburn Park on 2 September 2014. She was resting on a small gravel bar out in the middle of the Bow River - hence a fully-zoomed and well-cropped photo. You can see that she has a white spot behind the ear and faded, variable white patches in front of the eye. A pair of these beautiful ducks (the male is spectacular) could often be seen from the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, but unfortunately, the Sanctuary suffered so much damage from the 2013 Alberta Flood of the Century, that it is still closed more than a year later. They are locally uncommon here from May to September. I think I'm right in saying that there have only been about five of these small ducks in the city, so it's always a treat to see them.

"The harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a small sea duck. It takes its name from Harlequin (French Arlequin, Italian Arlecchino), a colourfully dressed character in Commedia dell'arte. The species name comes from the Latin word "histrio", "actor". 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.

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." From Wikipedia.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin_duck

www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/harlequin_duck/id

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