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Razorbill Alca torda


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Razorbill, summer
credit: Gsd97jks

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Family: Alcidae, Auks, Murres, Puffins view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has a black head, neck, and upperparts, and white underparts; note the neat white wing bar. Bill is large and laterally flattened; at close range, note the vertical ridges and white lines. ADULT WINTER Similar, but has partly white face (throat and cheeks); bill is smaller. JUVENILE Recalls winter adult, but bill is smaller and lacks markings.

Dimensions Length: 17" (43 cm)

Habitat During breeding season, favors rocky coasts and is a constituent member of many seabird colonies on Newfoundland and Labrador coasts. Outside breeding season it is highly pelagic and healthy birds are seldom seen close to land; Grand Banks is a hotspot.

Observation Tips At seabird colonies, those birds that are not incubating often sit around on prominent rocks near nest. Machias Seal Island, New Brunswick, provides good views.

Range New England, Southeast, Alaska, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic

Voice Mostly silent, but it sometimes utters croaking calls near nest.

Discussion Bulky seabird with essentially black and white plumage and distinctive bill. Swims well, dives frequently, and flies low over water on whirring wingbeats. Sexes are similar.