Expert swimmers, they ride rapids, dive and swim on the bottom of swift rivers and streams,
Coastal marine environments. In spring they leave the salt water to go to fast-flowing rivers and streams to breed.
When in freshwater, they eat lae of black flies, and midges. In winter, they eat small crabs, frog, and fish eggs.
Pollution, acid rain, atmospheric fallout of heavy metals, and deterioration of water quality.
They have been protected in Canada as a migratory game bird since the Migratory Birds Convention Act became law in 1917.
They spend the winter on the south coast of Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, and southeastern Alberta.
They go to northern Quebec and Labrador to molt and then continue on to the west coast to winter.
Males are slate blue with chestnut flanks, and streaks of white on its head and body. Females are brownish-gray and covered in brown speckles. Their name comes from the strange costumes worn by the Italian Harlequin in the Harlequin theatres.
They breed on the Gaspésie, northern Quebec, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in Alaska.
The nest, lined with down, may be built on the ground under clumps of shrubs or under logs, in trees cavities, or even on bedrock ledges.
Number of eggs:
3 to 5, cream coloured eggs.
The hen incubates the eggs for 28 or 29 days. Young birds resemble females.
Source: Hinterland, 1997 (http://ffdp.ca/hww2.asp?id=47)