|Conservation status||Total population not well known, but probably has declined in recent decades. Vulnerable to oil spills and other pollution. Breeding attempts may fail in years of unusually warm water temperatures, so climate change is a concern.|
|Family||Auks, Murres, Puffins|
|Habitat||Rocky coasts, inshore waters. Breeds on rocky islands and on mainland cliffs inaccessible to predators. At sea usually close to rocky shorelines, less often far out over continental shelf. In Bering Sea may be far from land around openings and edges of pack ice.|
Forages by diving and swimming underwater, propelled mainly by wings. Uses feet mostly for steering but also, unlike most auks, for some propulsion underwater. Mostly forages by searching sea bottom; can dive as much as 150' below surface but most feeding is probably within 60' of surface.
1-2. Creamy to pale blue-green, with gray and brown blotches concentrated near large end. Incubation is by both sexes, 26-32 days. Young: Both parents feed young, bringing them small fish at all hours of day, especially in early morning. Young leave nest 29-54 days after hatching, usually at night, scrambling or fluttering down to water. Able to swim and dive immediately, but not capable of strong flight for another 2-3 weeks.
Both parents feed young, bringing them small fish at all hours of day, especially in early morning. Young leave nest 29-54 days after hatching, usually at night, scrambling or fluttering down to water. Able to swim and dive immediately, but not capable of strong flight for another 2-3 weeks.
fish and other marine life. Diet varies with season and location. Eats mostly small fish, also shrimps, crabs, polychaete worms, mollusks, small octopus.
First breeds at age 3-5 years. Courtship displays by members of pair include mutual circling and bill-touching. Rapid zigzag chases on water near colony may also be involved in courtship. Nest site, probably chosen by male, is in crevice or cave, among boulders, in abandoned burrow, under driftwood or debris. May also excavate own nest burrow. Same site usually re-used for several years. Nest is shallow scrape in pile of dirt, pebbles, shells.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Northernmost breeders in Alaska move south in winter to edge of pack ice. Birds from center of range (British Columbia to Oregon) may be permanent residents of that region. Many California birds apparently move north after breeding, as far as British Columbia.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsHigh thin whistles and squeaks.
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