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Auks

Razorbill, close up of head

Image: Chris Gomersall

These are medium-sized seabirds with long, barrel-shaped bodies, short tails, very small wings and short legs set far back on the body. Most can hardly walk, but stand upright on cliff ledges where they come to breed each spring.

They fly low and fast with whirring wings and poor manoeuvrability, but they are excellent swimmers and divers, using their wings to ‘fly’ underwater.

There are more species in North America.

Black guillemot

Its striking black and white plumage and bright red feet make it easy to identify in summer. Unlike most other European auks the black guillemot is typically found in ones and twos, scattered around ... More...

Black guillemot

Guillemot

The UK's coasts have many stretches of sheer cliffs where seabirds breed and the guillemot is one of the most numerous birds in the great 'seabird cities'. It comes to land only to nest, spending the ... More...

Guillemot

Little auk

The little auk is a small seabird, the size of a starling. It is black above and white below, and in flight it shows dark underwings. It has a black stubby bill, and a short neck and tail. It flies wi... More...

Little auk

Puffin

An unmistakable bird with its black back and white underparts, and distinctive black head with large pale cheeks and a tall, flattened, brightly-coloured bill. Its comical appearance is heightened by ... More...

Puffin

Razorbill

The razorbill is a medium-sized seabird. It is black above and white below. It has a thick black beak which is deep and blunt, unlike the thinner bill of the similar guillemot. It breeds around the co... More...

Razorbill