Is my Welsh Harlequin girl TOO pale? (see photos)


In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 9, 2009
Western NC
I have a Welsh Harlequin hen that I think is beautiful, but I haven't seen others quite like her. She's a silver color phase and her base color is very light cream, almost white. She has very dark, almost black speckles over that, and of course blue speculum feathers. She reminds me of those Arctic falcons (called gyrfalcons), or snowy owls. I think she's the prettiest domestic duck I've ever seen, but of course I'm biased.

What do you think? I want to start showing but I have other ducks too.



I don't know about show ducks but she is beautiful

I have noticed with my harlequins that their color is ALWAYS changing. My mostly white silver WH Shelley is now a soft cream color. She will be a year old in June and before a few weeks ago she looked even lighter than your girl.
I totally agree she is BEAUTIFUL!!!

That gorgeous coloring is one of the things that sold me on this breed!
I was asking a breeder who shows about the coloring and she said that is the prefered color. It's best if the hoods are not apparent like yours. Are yours Holderread stock?

I have a silver girl that has the same coloring a lot of the time, but as WZ pointed out, WH change a LOT over the year. Actually I notice a lot more change with the silver phase, but not so much yet with my gold hen.
What about your golds Wifezilla, are they changing a lot too?
Wendy got darker...she is a Metzer girl and she has a very solid brown hood. Definitely NOT a show girl, but still a wonderful pet
Lexus is my Holderread's duck and she looks pretty much the same. She is a beautiful gold and looks very much "to type". I am betting I could show her if I wanted to. Shelley is also a Metzer girl but looks closer to the OPs duck. I could never show her though because she only has the blue speculum feathers on ONE WING and her bill is still yellow with spots. Her feet are also bright orange while her legs are the darker color they are supposed to be. She is not a show duck, but I really want to breed her for her personality and BRAINS! She is WAY too smart for a duck. You could see the troublemaker in her at age 3 days....LOL

My drake Tweak looks positively amazing but then again, the drakes are always the show-offs aren't they? LOL
I read this thread three times today before I decided I had to say something:
That duck is GORGEOUS! She has, in my opinion, the perfect coloring - but I don't do any showing, and I don't think I've ever even read the standard. I just think she's so pretty! How old is she? It seems to me that, as I've browsed pictures of Harlequins, the younger ones tend to have that pretty snowy white coloring, and then they get darker as they mature. The pictures of 4-year-old Gold and Silver phase Harlequins on the Holderread website are much darker, they have a lot more buff shading.

Harlequins as pretty as her make me want to get a few! But I'm afraid I'll end up with one with a hood and all that buff shading, which I think makes them look dirty.

I second CountyGal's interest in a few of that duck's babies. If you ever decide to breed her and have a few spare eggs lying around, I have a nice, warm incubator for them!
When ducks molt the color of their feathers change. If you look at a mallard drake, they go from black and white with the green ring to all brown. it matters what season it is. its sorta like camofloug.
Harlequins as pretty as her make me want to get a few! But I'm afraid I'll end up with one with a hood and all that buff shading, which I think makes them look dirty.

Naaa! It just looks like shading. If you want to avoid the "flawed" plumage, just don't order from Metzer. Get your ducks from Holderread stock. I really like their personalities. I am VERY happy with my ducks from both hatcheries, but the Holderread's ducks do look better.


Both of those pics are of Wendy. The top one was last summer. The bottom one was last week.

Here is Shelley. Easy to see in this pic why she isn't a show girl.

And who is this handsome devil???

Here is Miss Lexus. She is so cute


"The color and patterning of the Harlequin is complicated. The drake's head is greenish black, shoulders reddish chestnut frosted with white, and breast creamy with reddish-chestnut. The upper back has a tortoise effect in cream, white, brown, and chestnut while forewings are cream-white and reddish brown, with a shiny green and bronze cross-band. The tail is blackish/bronze edged in white, the legs and feet are orange, and toenails are brownish-black. The duck has a creamy white head with brown stippling. Often there is a delicate light rust or burnt orange blush to her head, neck, and breast. The crown of the head typically has more brown stippling than the rest of the head. Her body is creamy white with buff and brown-green or bronze bands on her wings. Her tail is a mixture of creamy white and brown. Her legs are orange when young, and brown when older. Toenails are brownish-black. Welsh Harlequin duck and drake ducklings may exhibit a subtle sex-linked difference in bill color at birth. (Holderread 1985, 2-4)

Harlequins are primarily raised for their wonderful practical attributes. "They are highly adaptable, outstanding layers producing 240-330 white shelled eggs yearly, active foragers, excellent producers of lean meat, beautifully colored and pluck almost as cleanly as white birds when dressed for meat." (Holderread 2001, 44)

When choosing a Welsh Harlequins breeder, select "robust, strong-legged birds that are free of physical deformities, heavy layers, and of correct body type and color. To help perpetuate the authentic Harlequin, avoid the following characteristics: more than a half pound above or below typical weights; short, blocky bodies; large coarse heads; distinct Mallard-like facial stripes; light colored bills in ducks; and poor producers."

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