We studied the time-activity budgets of Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) molting at the Gannet Islands, Labrador in the summer of 1998. For the entire population, a large proportion of time was spent hauled out of the water (61.4%), and resting (53.5%). Only a small proportion of time was spent foraging (11.6%). Male Harlequin Ducks undergoing the pre-basic molt were hauled out of the water significantly more (92.2%) than males in basic plumage (8.1%). Males undergoing the pre-basic body feather molt foraged significantly less (1.7%) than males in basic plumage (17.7%). Harlequin Ducks do not appear to increase their food intake to meet the nutritional requirements of molt. Instead they may try to reduce thermoregulatory and maintenance costs by engaging in activities that do not consume much energy, and by staying out of cold water while their plumage is not intact. Furthermore, they may deliberately lose body mass while molting to regain the ability to fly at an earlier stage of wing molt.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3