20b gypsum further up trail

SNAP*Shot: Annual Visit with Harlequin Ducks

It’s Mother’s Day and once again the Harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) are at LeHardy Rapids not far from Yellowstone Lake.  We talked about them a few years ago, but they are fascinating and so beautiful. Let’s visit with them again.

Look there . . .

20b gypsum further up trail

SNAP*Shot: Harlequin Ducks


Turbulent, icy cold waters is where you will find these small, brightly colored waterfowl called Harlequins ducks. The largest ducks are about 16″ from the tip of their tail to tip of their bill. In winter they choose the roughest northern coastal waters, but in summer they grace the wild, swirling LeHardy Rapids on the Yellowstone River to mate. The females will remain here raising the young through the summer, returning north in early autumn. These diving ducks feed on crustaceans, small fish, insects, and other assorted life they find as they swim underwater and even walk on the bottom searching the rocks for food. Studies have shown many adult Harlequins have had broken bones, probably a result of living in such rough surroundings. Welcome back Harlequins!