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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)

Species Code: HIHI

This is an "at risk" species

Click to enlarge Range map

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)

Click to enlarge distribution map

Map with Breeding Bird Atlas records

Other maps & Information:
  • Breeding Bird Atlas
  • NatureMapping observations
    during breeding season
  • NatureMapping observations
    throughout the year

This species is uncommon in fast-moving mountain rivers at low and moderate elevation levels (generally below 4000 feet) in the Cascade, Olympic, and Selkirk mountain ranges. They are rare in the Blue Mountains and southern Cascades. Harlequin Ducks prefer rivers within closed forested landscapes. They usually nest on the banks of swift-flowing streams and rivers in dense cover, but are occasionally found in tree cavities. Often seen during the breeding season roosting on gravel bars in rivers. Non-breeders and post-breeding males can be found in the summer along the northern outer coast and throughout the San Juan Islands area.

Good habitats in the core areas of use on the west side included all rivers and riparian habitat in the Sitka Spruce, Puget Sound Douglas-fir, Olympic Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock, Silver Fir, Mountain Hemlock, and Subalpine Fir zones. On the east side, good habitats in the core areas of use included all rivers and riparian habitat from the Interior Douglas-fir zone up to the Subalpine Fir zone. In both the east and the west, the range of this duck was limited to mountainous areas and conifer forests and was included knowing there may be smaller pockets of habitat suitable for them.

The recent interest in the Harlequin Duck (due to decreasing populations) has yielded much data to help map their distribution. Many records can be found from the Cascades and Olympics. However, few records exist in these databases from northeastern Washington or the Blue Mountains. In the Selkirks, this is probably due to a lack of effort in surveying the Harlequin but in the Blues they are probably so rare as not to be recorded. For this reason, no habitat was modeled in the Blues. Individuals have been spotted on the Tucannon River and the Little Spokane River. Harlequins in northeastern Washington are regularly noted below Sullivan Lake and above it on Sullivan Creek.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester