Razorbill

Alca torda

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Auks, Murres and Puffins (Alcidae)

Code 4

RAZO

Code 6

ALCTOR

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Near Threatened

The Razorbill has a large range, estimated globally at 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 square kilometers. Native to Europe and North America, this bird prefers neritic, oceanic, coastal, or tidal ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 1,500,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Razorbill is Least Concern.

SUMMARY

Overview

Razorbill: Large seabird with black head, neck, upperparts, white line from bill to eye, and white underparts. Large, wedge-shaped bill is black with a central, thin white band. Black legs and feet. Feeds on fish, marine worms, squid and crustaceans. Swift low direct flight.

 

Range and Habitat

Razorbill: Breeds in coastal sites from Spitsbergen, through Scandinavia to Iceland, Britain, and northwest France. Spends winters as far south as Spain and Morocco; also found in Greenland and the east coast of North America south to Maine. Casual south to Florida in the winter. Frequents coastal and oceanic waters; breeds on coastal cliffs and rock stacks in the summer.

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Razorbill SONGS AND CALLS

Razorbill HHH1

Call is a deep, growling "urrr" or a harsh "arrc-arrc".

Razorbill HHH2

Calls from a breeding colony.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"urrr", "arrc-arrc"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Razorbills, guillemots and puffins do not compete directly for food because guillemots catch large fish, which they carry singly; puffins catch small fish and razorbills catch medium-sized fish.
  • Their chicks cannot fly when they leave the colony, so the breeding site must give immediate access to the sea.
  • A group of razorbills are collectively known as an "edge" and a "strop" of razorbills.
  • Razorbills are exclusively an Atlantic species, with no counterpart in the Pacific.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Samira Belous

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X