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Alcidae Reference Libraries

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Tufted Puffin
2006-02-23 14:46:47

The Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) is a medium-sized pelagic seabird measuring about 30 cm in length and weighing roughly three quarters of a kilogram. It is mostly black with a white facial patch, and a very large bill. The yellow tufts for which it is named are on the side of the head when the bird is in breeding plumage. Tufted Puffins can be found throughout the northern Pacific...

Rhinoceros Auklet
2006-02-23 14:21:10

The Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) is a seabird considered by some to be a close relative of the puffin. It is the only member of the genus Cerorhinca. It ranges widely across the North Pacific feeding on small fish and nesting in mixed seabird colonies. Its name is derived from a horn-like extension of the beak. This horn is only present in breeding adults, and like the elaborate...

Whiskered Auklet
2006-02-23 14:02:07

The Whiskered Auklet (Aethia pygmaea) is a small seabird of the auk family. It has a more restricted range than other members of its genus, Aethia, living only around the Aleutian Islands and on some islands off Siberia (like Commander Islands). It also breeds on these islands. It is one of the smallest auks, only the closely related Least Auklet being smaller. Its name is derived from the long...

Cassins Auklet
2006-02-23 13:44:50

The Cassin's Auklet is a small, stocky seabird that ranges widely in the North Pacific. It nests in small burrows and because of its presence on well studied islands in British Columbia and off California it is one of the better known auks. It is named for John Cassin, a Pennsylvania businessman and naturalist. The Cassin's Auklet is a small (25 cm, 200 g) nondescript auk. Its plumage is...

Ancient Murrelet
2006-02-23 13:34:27

The Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus) is a bird of the auk family. It breeds in colonies principally on the Aleutian Islands and other Alaskan islands. They female lays one or two eggs directly amongst tree roots or in rock crevices. These small auks are nocturnal on the breeding grounds, presumably to reduce predation, and for the same reason the young are never fed at the nest,...

Xantuss Murrelet
2006-02-23 13:11:24

Xantus's Murrelet (Synthliboramphus hypoleucus) is a small auk found in the California Current system in the Pacific Ocean. This small seabird breeds on islands off California and Mexico. The species is named for the Hungarian ornithologist John Xantus de Vesey, who described it from specimens collected off Baja California. It is threatened by predators introduced to its breeding colonies and...

Kittlitzs Murrelet
2006-02-23 12:47:58

The Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) is a small auk found in the waters off Alaska and Eastern Siberia. This critically endangered species is, like the closely related Marbled Murrelet, is not colonial. Instead it chooses to nest in isolated locations on mountain tops, where the nests were known to Native Americans for many years before skeptical ornithologists described and...

Great Auk
2006-02-23 12:15:07

At 30 inches (75 centimeters), the flightless Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) was the largest of the auks. It was hunted for food, as well as for down for mattresses, from at least the 8th century. It is classified as the only species in the genus Pinguinus. It was also known as "garefowl", from the Old Norse geirfugl, or "penguin". Before hunted to extinction, the Great Auk could be found in...

Little Auk
2006-02-23 11:19:57

The Little Auk, or Dovekie (Alle alle) is a small auk, and the only member of the genus Alle. It breeds on islands in the high Arctic. There are two subspecies: A. a. alle which breeds in Greenland, Iceland, Novaya Zemlya and Spitzbergen, and A. a. polaris on Franz Josef Land. These birds can be found during times of breeding on coastal mountainsides, where they have huge colonies. They nest...

Auk
2006-02-23 10:59:10

PHOTO CAPTION:Common and Thick-billed Murres Auks are birds of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. They are similar to penguins because of their black-and-white colors, upright posture and certain habits. Even so, they are not related to the penguins at all, but considered by some to be a product of moderate convergent evolution. In contrast to penguins, auks have the ability...

Word of the Day
lunula
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.
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