Least Auklet - Aethia pusilla
The least auklet is a sparrow-sized seabird. It is about six inches in length. The least auklet is the smallest species in the Alcid family. It has dark brown to black feathers on its back and wings. It has white spotted feathers on its chest and undersides.
In summer, it has a white plume behind its eyes. It has a dark red bill, yellow eyes, a very short tail, and webbed gray-black feet. Males and females look the same.
The least auklet breeds on islands off the coast of Alaska. It winters on the open water.
The least auklet dives from the surface of the water and scoops up zooplankton.
The least auklet leaves the open ocean in June to return to its breeding grounds. Least auklets gather in large colonies on boulder-covered beaches and on scattered locations on cliff faces. The female least auklet lays just one egg in a crevice. The egg hatches in about a month. The least auklet carries food for its chick back to the colony in a special throat pouch. The chick fledges in a month.
Least auklets only come on land to breed.
|Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Ryan P. O'Donnell|