The Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a common bird on the River Ölfusá near Selfoss in March and April. In the wintertime the Harlequin duck stays in the ocean around Iceland but in early spring it goes up the rivers (March-April) and lays eggs near spring rivers and streams. Sometimes they can be seen on the River Ölfusá in winter.
The Harlequin duck is one of the most beautiful ducks. It is often tame and easy to approach and observe at short distance.
Iceland is the only nesting place for Harlequin ducks in Europe. It is, however, a nesting bird in Greenland, North America and the eastern regions of Siberia. The breeding population in Iceland is around 2000 to 3000 pairs.
In the darkest time of the year, which we have now, it is nice to know that these beautiful birds are waiting for spring off the coast all around the country.