Alca torda




Auks, Murres and Puffins (Alcidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Green, tan or white with black, brown markings

Number of Eggs:

1 - 2

Incubation Days:

35 - 37

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In a crevice or hole, or a nest of pebbles.

Nest Material:

Pebbles, grass and other vegetation.





Razorbill: Large seabird with black head, neck, and upperparts, white line from bill to eye, and white underparts. Large, wedge-shaped bill is black with a central, thin white band. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has white on throat extending to back of head and lacks white line behind bill. Juvenile (1st winter) resembles winter adult but has smaller, all-black bill and less white on neck and head.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Razorbill: One or two green, tan, or white eggs, marked with black and brown, are laid in a nest made of pebbles, grass, and other vegetation built directly on bare rock. Incubation ranges from 35 to 37 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Razorbill: Eats fish, such as herring, whiting, and sand eels; also takes crustaceans and marine worms; forages by diving beneath the water surface and swimming with its wings.


Razorbill: Call is a deep, creaking "urrr" or a harsh "arrc-arrc."

Similar Species

Razorbill: Thick-billed and Common murres have longer, thinner bills and lack white band on bills.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X