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Conservation status: Amber

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 coast of the UK, with the largest colonies in northern Scotland. There are none breeding between the Humber and the Isle of Wight. Birds only come to shore to breed, and winter in the northern Atlantic. The future of this species is linked to the health of the marine environment. Fishing nets, pollution and declining fish stocks all threaten the razorbill.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Alca torda

Family

Auks (Alcidae)

Where to see them

Best looked for at seabird colonies in the breeding season, particularly in northern Scotland. You may see them from seawatching points around the coast at other times.

When to see them

On the breeding cliffs from March to end of July. Rather scarce in inshore waters the rest of the time.

What they eat

Fish, especially sandeels, sprats and herrings.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-130,000 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Similar birds

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