Saturday, 26 June 2010

Razorbill (Alca torda)

OTHER NAMES: Black-billed Auk, Falk
Latin Etymology: Alca (Alke - Norweigian name for Razorbill) torida (from Gotland dialect name)
Five adult Razorbill (subspecies A. t. torda) at Tintagel, Cornwall - April 2015

Featured Subspecies: Alca torda torda
Weight: 505-890g  /  Length: 37-39cm  /  Wingspan: 63-66cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List - Near Threatened

The Razorbill is the rarest auk to breed in any major numbers in England (there are a very small number of black guillemot, but that species is mainly confined to Scotland) and thus the hardest to photograph. It also leaves at the end of July, further confounding the problem. Though they are present, I failed to see any on my trip to the Farne Islands, and so it fell to spotting them on the sea beneath the cliffs at Trevose head for initially photographing them. If you have the luck to go over to the Farnes between March and mid-July you'd probably be able to achieve much better photographs - I had seen them on my previous trip. They do however have the benefit over puffins that they do nest on the mainland, and so can often be seen during the breeding season on the sea beneath cliffs.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Alca
Subspecies: A. t. torda, A. t. islandica

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A locally common Summer breeding species (130,000 pairs)
 - Flocks seen at Trevose Head, Farne Islands, St. Bee's Head and Tintagel in Spring and early Summer.

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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