A Harlequin duck. Photo courtesy Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, Wikimedia Commons

Red-faced cormorant Nesting on cliffs or steep slopes above cold ocean water, this bird can be spotted along the Aleutian Islands and around the Kenai Peninsula. Alaska is the only place this cormorant lives in the United States.

Willow ptarmigan The Alaska state bird masterfully camouflages itself by turning white in winter and mixed browns and reds in summer. Identify this largest of the state’s ptarmigan by its wide bill or feathered feet.

Harlequin duck Named because the blue-gray feathers with striking black, white, and rufous markings look like medieval court jesters, or harlequins.


Alexander Deedy formerly worked as the assistant editor and digital content manager for Alaska magazine.

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