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Little Auk

Alle alle

  • Name also: Dovekie
  • Family: Auks – Alcidae
  • Appearance: A small, black and white Starling-sized auk.
  • Size: Length 19–21 cm (7.5–8.2 in), wingspan 34–38 cm (13–15 in), weight 140–190 g (5.5–7.5 oz).
  • Nest: Eggs laid on bare rocky ledges on sea cliffs.
  • Breeding: Single egg laid in June, incubated by both parents for 28–31 days. Fledglings fed at nest for 27–30 days, until they are able to fly and find food.
  • Distribution: Breeds in dense colonies on steep cliffs around the NW Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Total population in the Arctic region estimated at 8–18 million pairs. Vagrant individuals regularly observed in Finland, most often in late autumn and winter.
  • Migration: Leaves breeding colonies in August, returning Feb–April. Winters in waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean (according to ice conditions).
  • Diet: Small marine invertebrates and fish.
  • Calls: Various laughing and trilling calls. Murmuring chorus of calls from colonies audible over long distances.

A small starling-sized stocky seabird with a short neck and beak. Head, breast and back black. Thin white stripe on wings behind secondaries, and some white streaks visible lengthwise on back, formed by white edges to certain feathers. Dark-coloured underwings, unlike other auks. Belly and vent white. In winter plumage underparts completely white. Legs brown or grey, beak and iris black.

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