AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851)
[Pl. CCXCVII] London: 1836. Drawn from nature by J.J. Audubon, engraved, printed and colored by Robert Havell, 1836. Watermarked: " J. Whatman 1836" Sheet size: 25 x 38 inches.
From the first edition of "Birds of America"
The drawings for the Harlequin Ducks were done by Audubon and his son, John Woodhouse, near Eastport, Maine. The two birds on the right of the image (2. Female, on top, and 3. Young Male, Third Year) were drawn by the younger Audubon and the Old Male on the left was drawn by John James.
The Harlequin Duck is aptly named both because of its multi-colored feathers but also for its surprising and unusual ways, like the clownish and mischievous Harlequin of the Commedia dell' Arte. Its love of the turbulent waters around Maine, Nova Scotia and Labrador is an example of character not typical of ducks.
They are found in the northwest and northeast of the United States and occasionally in the Great Lakes. They are also inhabitants of Iceland.
Low, A Guide to Audubon's "Birds of America"; Petersen, Audubon's Birds of America.