|Conservation status||Total population undoubtedly in millions, but hard to census and trends would be difficult to detect. Natives in Greenland and elsewhere harvest many for food, but this likely to have no impact on total population. Would be vulnerable to oil spills or other pollution in northern waters.|
|Family||Auks, Murres, Puffins|
|Habitat||Oceanic; offshore to pelagic. Usually in cold Arctic waters, often around edges of pack ice; may rest on ice. Even when moving farther south in winter, favors cold waters, avoiding warm currents. Often very far from land over deep water. Nests on northern coasts and islands on deeply fissured cliffs, talus slopes, boulder piles.|
Forages by diving and swimming underwater, evidently using both wings and feet. Does most foraging just below surface.
One. Pale blue-green, sometimes with buff and brown spots. Incubation is by both sexes, 28-31 days. Young: Both parents feed nestling, bringing back food in throat pouch; young is brooded continuously for first 2-4 days after hatching. Young leaves nest 23-30 days after hatching, usually departing in evening or at night, flying out to sea, alone or accompanied by adults.
Both parents feed nestling, bringing back food in throat pouch; young is brooded continuously for first 2-4 days after hatching. Young leaves nest 23-30 days after hatching, usually departing in evening or at night, flying out to sea, alone or accompanied by adults.
Small crustaceans. Feeds almost entirely on small crustaceans, mainly very small species that occur in swarms near surface in cold waters, including calanoid copepods, mysids, amphipods, euphausiids, others. Also eats small numbers of fish, mollusks, marine worms, plus bits of algae.
Breeds in colonies; northernmost colonies may be very large. On arrival at colony in spring, flocks may circle over site for hours, giving trilled calls. Members of pair display by bowing rapidly and repeatedly, wagging head from side to side, touching bills. Nest site is well hidden among rocks or in crevice in cliff; same pair may use site in subsequent years. Nest is thin layer of pebbles, sometimes with bits of grass or lichen.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Many remain in winter as far north as open water permits, around leads in pack ice north of Arctic Circle; southernmost big concentrations in winter are on Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Smaller numbers irregularly come south to waters off New England, small invasions rarely reaching Florida. Major winter storms sometimes drive numbers inland in northeast.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsSqueaking notes.
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