[CT Birds] More info on captive Harlequins (Brian Kleinman)

snaketat at cox.net snaketat at cox.net
Wed Jan 13 16:33:00 EST 2010

I thought I would pass this along:

Hi Brian,

Thought I might provide a little insight into captive harlequin ducks as there have been some questions regarding the bird on the Farmington recently. 
There are only two facilities in the state that ever kept harlequin, Kem Appell's place in Farmington (which hasn't had harlequin for several years) and the Conservancy (which has a pair).  Harlequins are very rare in captivity and carry a hefty price tag ($3,000-$4,000 per pair), which limits the facilities that can afford them.  There are one or two birds at Zoo New England in Boston (flightless rehab birds), several at the Central Park Zoo, and pair or two in a private collection in Bedford, NY. Other than that, the next facility you'll find keeping harlequin is in eastern North Carolina.
As far as banding goes, the bird needs to either be seamlessly banded or be missing the right hallux to be properly (legally) marked as a captive bird.  Without either of those markings, and taking into account the rarity and value of the birds in captivity, I would be very surprised if the duck has captive origins.
Hope this clears up any doubt regarding the duck. 
Ian Gereg
Director of Aviculture and Education
Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy
P.O. Box 210, Litchfield, CT 06759

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