|Conservation status||Still abundant in parts of range (especially islands off British Columbia), but has disappeared from many former breeding islands in Alaska and elsewhere because of introduction of foxes or other predators. Vulnerable to disturbance on nesting islands, and to oil spills and other pollution at sea.|
|Family||Auks, Murres, Puffins|
|Habitat||Ocean; colonizes sea islands. May use any kind of island for nesting (barren or forested, steep or level) as long as no predatory mammals are present. Otherwise at sea, often near nesting islands or in upwellings over continental shelf, but also far out over deep water.|
Forages while swimming underwater. May feed by day or night. Can dive to more than 120' below surface.
One. Creamy white, sometimes becoming nest-stained. Incubation is by both sexes, usually 38-39 days, sometimes as long as 57 days. Young: Both parents visit at night to feed young by regurgitation. Young bird nibbles at white spot on parent's bill to elicit feeding. At 41-50 days after hatching, young make first flight and go to water, able to swim and dive immediately. Usually 1 brood per year, sometimes 2.
Both parents visit at night to feed young by regurgitation. Young bird nibbles at white spot on parent's bill to elicit feeding. At 41-50 days after hatching, young make first flight and go to water, able to swim and dive immediately. Usually 1 brood per year, sometimes 2.
Mostly small crustaceans. Diet in breeding season includes euphausiid shrimp, amphipods, copepods, some small fish and squid; diet at other seasons not well known.
Usually first breeds at age 3 years, sometimes earlier. Pairs usually form in late winter. Courtship displays include mutual bowing and head-bobbing, moving head from side to side, touching bills. Nest site is in burrow excavated in soil or in natural crevice, sometimes under debris or driftwood. Both members of pair take part in excavating burrow. Little or no nest material added. Nest re-used in following years by same pair.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Northern birds apparently move south in winter, but details not well known. Southern breeders may remain close to colony site all year.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsWeak croaking calls given at night.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Cassin's Auklet
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Climate threats facing the Cassin's Auklet
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.