Harlequins

Populations of Harlequin Ducks, (Histrionicus histrionicus) are quite strong here on the West coast, but over on the Atlantic side of the country numbers have fallen quite significantly over recent years. Remaining populations on both continental seaboards make their way north and inland to mountain streams and waterways to nest. As with many bird species, the male is much more colourful than the less striking female, which can easily be confused with other duck species such as bufflehead and scoter. Harlequins are certainly the white water rafters of the bird world – they seem to favour life in and around fast moving water and winter on the coast within the vicinity of rock pounding surf. Many birds have been found with healed breaks or still with broken bones as a result of their preferred living environment. These birds like to eat crustaceans and shellfish with the odd worm, small fish or insect thrown in. They have been known to dive down underwater and actually walk along the seabed whilst in search of their next meal.

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