Harlequin Duck Molt

Photos by
Paul Higgins

Side View, 25 - 29 Oct  |  Side View, 1 -25 Nov  |  Front  |  Back  |  Action  | With Female  |  Female  |

A female Harlequin Duck was discovered on the Antelope Island Causeway on the 28th of September, 2011.  A sight record of this rare visitor was submitted to the Records Committee along with numerous photos.  On  October 12th another bird showed up to join the female.  This bird turned out to be a 1st winter male which was ready to start its molt into the unique breeding plumage characteristic of this bird.  Paul Higgins took this rare opportunity to chronicle the molting process of this young bird into the amazing-looking breeding male Harlequin Duck.

Here are the pictures in chronological order from different views. Starting from the side view below:

Photos by Paul Higgins

12 Oct 2011 - The 1st year male Harlequin Duck (front) looks very similar to the female before starting the molt.

25 Oct 2011 - The molt of the body feathers starts at the head, face and throat and progresses toward the tail.

25 Oct 2011 - The flight feathers are molted symmetrically, one or two pairs at a time so the bird can still function.

26 Oct 2011

26 Oct 2011

26 Oct 2011

28 Oct 2011

28 Oct 2011

(to photos from 1- 25 November)

All Photos by Paul Higgins     ŠPaul Higgins


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