The Harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a small-size seabird with a round head, a beveled beak, and a stocky body. The male's body plumage is remarkable because of the bright colours displayed. It is striped with dark blue, ochre, and white bands. The female's brown feathers are more discreet and help it camouflage when nesting comes. Three white spots on each side of its head distinguish it from other female ducks. The ducklings look just like an adult female duck.
The harlequin duck mostly eats invertebrates (larvae, blackflies, snails, caddisflies, mayflies) and it winters along the Atlantic and Pacific Coast regions. In the summer, between April and September, it spends the season on the ground where it nests close to torrents, mostly near Banff and other mountain parks. It loves fast watercourses and high mountain lakes. It prefers undisturbed wild environments where water is clear and limpid.
This species is a master in the art of nesting camouflage in low grass, stumps, tree trunks, wood debris, and big rocks in watercourses. The female is responsible for finding a good nesting spot. Most of the time, it lays 5 to 7 eggs and sits on them 28 to 30 days. After the laying, the harlequin drake leaves the nest to return to the coasts.