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(Redirected from Alca torda)
Photo © by johnmoonie
Farne Islands, Northumberland, June 2006
Alca torda


Photo © by Digiscoper321
West Sweden, November 2005

L. 37–39 cm (14½-15¼ in)
W. 60-69 cm

Adult Breeding

  • Black upperparts
  • White breast and belly
  • Thick, black bill with blunt end
  • White stripes on bill
  • White line from eye to base of the bill
  • Long, pointed tail


  • Black face becomes white

Similar Species

Photo © by the late Mahsleb
Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire, May 2009

Common Guillemot, which has a long pointed bill.


Northern Atlantic coasts, in eastern North America as far south as Maine, and in western Europe from northwestern Russia to northern France.



Two subspecies are recognized:[1]


Breeds on islands, rocky shores and steep cliffs, usually at a lower level to the Common Guillemot. Winters on the open sea and in large estuaries.



Flies fast and direct low over water.


In colonies with eggs laid on a bare rock ledge


Swims underwater to forage for food. Eats sand eels, herring, some crustaceans and marine worms.


A querrulous, croaking kaargh


  1. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  1. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  2. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

Recommended Citation

External Links

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