This migratory duck has such pretty markings and Nora says painting it on moving water was quite a challenge. It is rare to see a Harlequin Duck in Nova Scotia.
This is a small and compact waterfowl with a large round head, small bill, and steep forehead. The male is slate blue with white stripes and chestnut sides and the female grayish brown with white around the eyes. Both sexes have a round white spot behind their eyes. In winter, Harlequin Ducks congregate in coastal marine areas near rocky shorelines or subtidal ledges. In spring, they leave saltwater areas to breed in fast-flowing rivers and streams.
On the shoreline in winter, Harlequins dive in shallow, turbulent waters to find small crabs, limpets, blue mussels and fish eggs. During spring and summer thy dive to the bottom of rivers and streams where they walk against the current in search of larvae (blackflies, caddis flies and midges). The greatest threats to the Harlequin Duck are disturbances to habitat (hydro dams, access roads) and pollution (oil spills and changes to water quality).
Size 11 X 14 inches