[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


Gallery - Auks

Auks are good swimmers and divers, but their walking appears clumsy. Due to their short wings, auks have to flap their wings very quickly in order to fly.

Auks are superficially similar to penguins having black-and-white colours, upright posture and some of their habits. Nevertheless they are not closely related to penguins, but rather are believed to be an example of moderate convergent evolution.

Auks live on the open sea and only go ashore for breeding, although some species, like the Common Guillemot, spend a great part of the year defending their nesting spot from others.

Some species, such as Guillemots, nest in large colonies on cliff edges, but the puffin nest in burrows. All UK species are colonial.

[Video clip about Winter Auk ID]Winter Auk ID

A video from the BTO to help with ID for these birds in the winter


[RSPB amber conservation status][More information about Razorbill][razorbill8]Razorbill (Alca torda)

The Razorbill has been classified as a Amber list species-medium conservation concern.

Breeds on sea cliffs laying there eggs in between boulders and crevicies.The Razorbill spends the rest of the year out at sea where it feeds on fish which it chases underwater.


[RSPB amber conservation status][More information about Guillemot][guillemot12]Guillemot (Uria aalge)

The Guillemot has been classified as a Amber list species-medium conservation concern.

Large colonies of this peguin like seabird breed on dramatic seacliffs like Bempton on the north east coast of England.After breeding it spends the rest of the year at sea. When feeding it chases fish underwater. The single egg is layed on a cliff edge or flat rock.


[guillemot11]Bridled Guillemot

Striking "Bridled" variety, more frequent in North of range, has narrow white eye-ring and white line back from eye (showing as an indented furrow in normal birds)


[brunnichsguillemot3]Brunnichs Guillemot (Uria lomvia)

Very rare visitor to the UK, normal range is artic circle. Blacker and bill is shorter & stouter than other Guillemots.


[RSPB amber conservation status][More information about Black Guillemot][blackguillemot11]Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle)

The Black Guillemot is an Amber list species-Medium conservation concern.

This Guillemot feeds closer to the shore and is less colonial than other members of the auk family.It feeds on fish which are caught by diving and nests in crevices in sea-cliffs, among boulders and in holes in buildings.


[RSPB red conservation status][More information about Puffin][puffin18]Puffin (Fratercula arctica)

The puffin has been classified as a Amber list species-medium conservation concern.

This attractive seabird is a summer visitor to islands and sea cliffs in NW Europe,for the rest of the year it lives on the open sea.Fish are caught by diving and swimming underwater.Puffins nest in colonies in burrows.


[RSPB green conservation status][More information about Little Auk][nopic28]Little Auk (Alle alle)

Vast colonies of little Auks nest on inaccessible cliffs in the high artic. After the breeding season is over and food becomes scarce, little Auks move south to winter in the North Atlantic, following colder currents and avoiding the warmer water of the Gulf Stream.



© Simon Thurgood 2017
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