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Alcidae - Auks, Murres, Puffins

razor bill

Classification

 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Charadriiformes 
 Family: Alcidae

puffinThe Alcidae family includes the auks, puffins, and murres. The birds in this family look a lot like penguins. They are black and white and stand upright. Like penguins, they are very good swimmers and divers, but unlike penguins, they can fly.

Auks, murres and puffins have short wings and webbed feet. They live on the open ocean, except during the breeding season. Species in this family are found in the Northern Hemisphere in areas with cold water.

One species in this family, the great auk, is extinct. It once was found in breeding colonies on rocky islands and coasts in the North Atlantic in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, and Scandinavia. In the winter, the great auk migrated as far south as Florida.

The great auk was a little over two feet tall. It was black with a white belly, and it had an oval white patch over its eyes. The great auk was hunted for food and fish bait and for its feathers. The last known pair was killed by collectors in Iceland in 1844.

galleryAlcidae Photo Gallery

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct Not Enough DataNot Enough Data
Status and range is taken from ICUN Redlist.


U.S. Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Endangered in US Endangered in US Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife. Click on U.S. status icon to go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife species profile.

New Hampshire Status Key
Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Breeds in NH Breeds in NH (birds)
Status taken from NH Fish and Game

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH

More Info
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Resource Key
profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio

New Hampshire Species

North/Central American Species

  • Crested Auklet - Aethia cristatella Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Least Auklet - Aethia pusilla Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Parakeet Auklet - Aethia psittacula Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Whiskered Auklet - Aethia pygmaea Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Kittlitz's Murrelet - Brachyramphus brevirostris Near Threatened Asia North America image More Info
  • Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus Endangered North America image More Info
  • Pigeon Guillemot - Cepphus columba Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Rhinoceros Auklet - Cerorhinca monocerata Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America image More Info
  • Horned Puffin - Fratercula corniculata Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Tufted Puffin - Fratercula cirrhata Least Concern Asia North America image More Info
  • Cassin's Auklet - Ptychoramphus aleuticus Least Concern North America image More Info
  • Ancient Murrelet - Synthliboramphus antiquus Least Concern Asia North America More Info
  • Craveri's Murrelet - Synthliboramphus craveri Vulnerable North America More Info
  • Japanese Murrelet - Synthliboramphus wumizusume Vulnerable Asia image More Info
  • Guadalupe Murrelet - Synthliboramphus hypoleucus Endangered North America image More Info
  • Scripps's Murrelet - Synthliboramphus scrippsi  Vulnerable North America image More Info

Species Around the World

  • Long-billed Murrelet - Brachyramphus perdix Near Threatened Asia image More Info
  • Spectacled Guillemot - Cepphus carbo Least Concern Asia image More Info

Additional Information

Ancient Murrelet - Synthliboramphus antiquus profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The ancient murrelet breeds on offshore islets of North Pacific and mainland shores south to central British Columbia . It is also found in Asia.
Source: Audubon Guide to North American Birds Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Ancient Murrelet - Synthliboramphus antiquus profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The ancient murrelet is the only seabird that raises its young entirely at sea.
Source:
All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Ancient Murrelet - Synthliboramphus antiquus profile Photos Video Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The ancient murrelet and will often plunge directly from the air into the water to forage for food.
Source:
eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica profile Photos Video Audio Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America
The Atlantic puffin is the only puffin species found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Source:
eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica profile Photos Audio Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America
The Atlantic Puffin can live to be more than 30 years old.
Source: All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica profile Photos Audio Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America
The Atlantic puffin is sometimes called "sea parrot" because of its colorful bill.
Source: National Geographic Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica profile Photos Video Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America
The Atlantic puffin can dive to depths of 200 feet.
Source: National Geographic Creature Feature Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary School

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica profile Photos Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America
When they are feeding their young, Atlantic puffin can carry back as many as 30 fish at a time in their bills
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica profile Photos Audio Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America
Both parents feed nestlings.
Source: Audubon Guide to North American Birds Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica profile Photos Video Audio Vulnerable Africa Asia Europe North America
Atlantic puffins nest in much smaller colonies than most other alcids.
Source: Audubon Project Puffin Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Black Guillemot - Cepphus grylle profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America New Hampshire Species
The black guillemot has bright red feet.
Source: All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Black Guillemot - Cepphus grylle profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America New Hampshire Species
In North America, the black guillemot breeds on rocky shores, cliffs, and islands on the the on the northern coasts of Alaska on the Pacific Coast, along the northern Arctic coast of Canada, and on the Atlantic coast as far south as Maine. The black guillemot usually winters in its breeding range. It is also found in Europe.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Cassin's Auklet - Ptychoramphus aleuticus profile Photos Audio Least Concern North America
Cassin's auklet breeds from the Aleutians to central Baja California, Mexico.
Source: Audubon Guide to North American Birds Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Cassin's Auklet - Ptychoramphus aleuticus profile Photos Audio Least Concern North America
The Cassin's auklet is the only alcid known to produce two broods in a single breeding season.
Source: All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Cassin's Auklet - Ptychoramphus aleuticus profile Photos Video Audio Least Concern North America
Cassin's auklets feed in flocks and nest in large colonies.
Source: eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Common Murre - Uria aalge profile Photos Video Audio Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The common murre is also known as the guillemot.
Source: eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Common Murre - Uria aalge profile Photos Audio Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The common murre spends the winter at sea.
Source: All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Common Murre - Uria aalge profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The common murre is found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Source: Audubon Guide to North American Birds Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Common Murre - Uria aalge profile Photos Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The common murre nests in large colonies on rocky offshore islands.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Craveri's Murrelet - Synthliboramphus craveri profile Photos Video Audio Vulnerable North America
Craveri's murrelet is found along the Pacific coast of California and Mexico.
Source: eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Craveri's Murrelet - Synthliboramphus craveri profile Vulnerable North America
Cats and rats are probably the greatest threat to Craveri's murrelet.
Source: BirdLife International Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School

Craveri's Murrelet - Synthliboramphus craveri profile Photos Vulnerable North America
At about nine inches in length, Craveri's murrelet is the smallest species of murrelet.
Source: Audubon Guide to North American Birds Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Crested Auklet - Aethia cristatella profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The crested auklet breeds in the Aleutians and other islands and coasts around the Bering Sea.
Source: Audubon Guide to North American Birds Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Crested Auklet - Aethia cristatella profile Photos Video Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The crested auklet is slightly larger than a sparrow.
Source: eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Crested Auklet - Aethia cristatella profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America
Crested auklets are monogamous,
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Dovekie - Alle alle profile Photos Video Audio Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The dovekie is also known as the little auk.
Source: eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Dovekie - Alle alle profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The Dovekie breeds along high Arctic coasts. In the winter, it can be found far south as New England.
Source:
All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Dovekie - Alle alle profile Photos Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The Dovekie is considered by some experts to be the world's most abundant bird.
Source
: Audubon Guides Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Great Auk - Pinguinus impennis Photos Extinct Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The great auk was 30 to 33 inches tall.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Great Auk - Pinguinus impennis Photos Extinct Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The great auk wintered as far south as Florida and southern Spain.
Source: Canadian Museum of Nature Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary School

Horned Puffin - Fratercula corniculata profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America
The horned puffin breeds from northern Alaska south to British Columbia border.
Source
: Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Horned Puffin - Fratercula corniculata profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The horned puffin nests in rock crevices and cliffs.
Source:
All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Japanese Murrelet - Synthliboramphus wumizusume profile Photos Vulnerable Asia
The Japanese Murrelet is also known as Crested murrelet.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Japanese Murrelet - Synthliboramphus wumizusume profile Photos Vulnerable Asia
The Japanese murrelet breeds on islands off the southern coasts of Japan and South Korea.
Source: BirdLife International Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School

Japanese Murrelet - Synthliboramphus wumizusume Photos Video Vulnerable Asia
Japanese murrelet chicks leave the nest a few days after hatching.
Source: Internet Bird Collection Intended Audience: General Reading Level: N/A

Kittlitz's Murrelet - Brachyramphus brevirostris profile Photos Near Threatened Asia North America
Kittlitz's murrelet is found in the waters off Alaska and Eastern Siberia.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Kittlitz's Murrelet - Brachyramphus brevirostris profile Photos Near Threatened Asia North America
Kittlitz's murrelet does not breed until until it is two to four years old.
Source: BirdLife International Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School

Kittlitz's Murrelet - Brachyramphus brevirostris profile Photos Near Threatened Asia North America
Kittlitz's murrelet nests on talus slopes of high mountains.
Source
: Audubon Guides Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Least Auklet - Aethia pusilla profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The least auklet breeds on the Aleutians and islands in the Bering Sea.
Source
: Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Least Auklet - Aethia pusilla profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America
At a little over 6 inches in length, the least auklet is the smallest species of auklet.
Source
: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Long-billed Murrelet - Brachyramphus perdix Photos Near Threatened Asia
The long-billed murrelet is found in the North Pacific.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Long-billed Murrelet - Brachyramphus perdix profile Photos Near Threatened Asia
In 1996 the long-billed murrelet was recognized as a separate species from the marbled murrelet.
Source: Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus profile Photos Endangered North America
The marbled murrelet is found in the Pacific Ocean.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus profile Photos Audio Endangered North America
Unlike other birds in this family that nest on rocky outcroppings, the marbled murrelet nests in trees.
Source:
All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus profile Photos Audio Endangered North America
The female marbled murrelet lays one egg and both parents take turns incubating it.
Source: Seattle Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Marbled Murrelet - Brachyramphus marmoratus profile Photos Endangered North America
The marbled murrelet is a plump, robin-sized seabird.
Source: U.S. Forestry Service Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Parakeet Auklet - Aethia psittacula profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The parakeet auklet breeds on Bering Sea islands and nearby coasts.
Source: Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Parakeet Auklet - Aethia psittacula profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The parakeet auklet has a thick, rounded, upturned red bill.
Source:All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Pigeon Guillemot - Cepphus columba profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America
The pigeon guillemot breeds on coasts and islands from southern Alaska south to southern California.
Source
: Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Pigeon Guillemot - Cepphus columba profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The pigeon guillemot is black with white wing patches and bright red feet.
Source:All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Pigeon Guillemot - Cepphus columba profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The pigeon guillemot uses it wings and feet to propel itself underwater.
Source: Seattle Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Razorbill - Alca torda profile Photos Video Near Threatened Africa Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The razorbill breeds on coastal cliffs and rock stacks in summer.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Razorbill - Alca torda profile Photos Audio Near Threatened Africa Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
In non -breeding season, the razorbill is found in the waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean,
Source:All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Razorbill - Alca torda profile Photos Near Threatened Africa Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
Razorbills use their their wings to swim underwater.
Source:
Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Razorbill - Alca torda profile Photos Near Threatened Africa Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
Razorbills don't breed until the are four to six years old.
Source:
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Razorbill - Alca torda profile Photos Near Threatened Africa Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
Razorbills feed mostly on fish, shrimp, and squid.
Source:
Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Rhinoceros Auklet - Cerorhinca monocerata profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The rhinoceros auklet breeds from Aleutians south to central California.
Source
: Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Rhinoceros Auklet - Cerorhinca monocerata profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The rhinoceros auklet is gray with a white belly.
Source:All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Rhinoceros Auklet - Cerorhinca monocerata profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
In breeding season, the rhinoceros auklet has a bright orange-yellow bill with a whitish horn.
Source
: Seattle Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Spectacled Guillemot - Cepphus carbo Photos Video Least Concern Asia
The spectacled guillemot is found on coasts and islands of the north-west Pacific Ocean. It breeds from the Kamchatkan Peninsula, Russia and Sea of Okhotsk to North Korea. It winters in in open ocean waters near its breeding ground south to Japan.
Source: Internet Bird Collection Intended Audience: General Reading Level: NA

Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia Photos Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The thick-billed murre is also known as the Thick-billed guillemot.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The thick-billed murre is found in Arctic waters all across the globe.
Source:
All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The thick-billed murre is black on its upperside and white on its underside.
Source:
Audubon Guides Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia profile Photos Least Concern Asia Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The thick-billed murre can fly at speeds of up to 75 miles an hour.
Source: National Geographic Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Tufted Puffin - Fratercula cirrhata profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America
The tufted puffin breeds from northern Alaska south to northern California. It is also found in Asia.
Source:
Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Tufted Puffin - Fratercula cirrhata profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
During the breeding season, the tufted puffin is all black except for a white face and long, golden plumes that curl over the back of its head and neck.
Source:All About Birds Cornell Lab of Ornithology Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Tufted Puffin - Fratercula cirrhata profile Photos Audio Least Concern Asia North America
The tufted puffin needs a running start to take flight.
Source
: Seattle Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Tufted Puffin - Fratercula cirrhata profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America
Tufted puffins fly very close the the water and feed by diving under the water catching their prey in their mouths.
Source:
Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Whiskered Auklet - Aethia pygmaea profile Photos Least Concern Asia North America
In the U.S., the whiskered auklet breeds throughout the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. It winters on the open water. It is also found in Japan and Russia.
Source
: Audubon Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Elementary/Middle School

Guadalupe Murrelet - Synthliboramphus hypoleucus profile Photos Endangered North America
Guadalupe murrelets nest in as few as ten known locations.
Source: National Audubon Society Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School

Guadalupe Murrelet - Synthliboramphus hypoleucus profile Photos Endangered North America
The Guadalupe murrelet has black upperparts and white underparts.
Source: BirdLife International Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School

Scripps's Murrelet - Synthliboramphus scrippsi profile  Vulnerable North America
Scripp's murrelets  breed on islands off southern California and Baja California, Mexico.
Source: BirdLife International Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School

Scripps's Murrelet - Synthliboramphus scrippsi profile Photos Vulnerable North America
Scripp's murrelets and Guadalupe murrelets are sometimes groups together as Xantus’s murrelet.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School