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From Opus

Photo © by johnmoonie Farne Islands, Northumberland, June 2006
Photo © by johnmoonie
Farne Islands, Northumberland, June 2006
Alca torda


[edit] Identification

Non-breedingPhoto © by Digiscoper321West Sweden, November 2005
Photo © by Digiscoper321
West Sweden, November 2005

L. 37–39 cm (14Β½-15ΒΌ in)
W. 60-69 cm

[edit] 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

[edit] Non-breeding

  • Black face becomes white

[edit] Similar Species

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

Common Guillemot, which has a long pointed bill.

[edit] Distribution

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

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Two subspecies are recognized:[1]

[edit] Habitat

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.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Flight

Flies fast and direct low over water.

[edit] Breeding

In colonies with eggs laid on a bare rock ledge

[edit] Diet

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

[edit] Vocalisation

A querrulous, croaking kaargh

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  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
  1. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  2. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

[edit] External Links


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