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Encyclopedia > Razorbill
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Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Alca
Species: A. torda
Binomial name
Alca torda
Linnaeus, 1758

The Razorbill, Alca torda, is a large alcid, 38-43 cm in length, with a 60-69 cm wingspan. It is the only member of the genus Alca. Image File history File links Razorbill at bird cliff in Westfjords, Iceland. ... The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive either in the present day or the future. ... Image File history File links Status_iucn3. ... Least Concern (LC) is an IUCN category assigned to species or lower taxa which do not qualify for any other category. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... Animalia redirects here. ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... Aves redirects here. ... Families Thinocoridae Pedionomidae Scolopacidae Rostratulidae Jacanidae Chionididae Burhinidae Haematopodidae Recurvirostridae Ibidorhynchidae Charadriidae Pluvianellidae Dromadidae Glareolidae Stercorariidae Rhynchopidae Laridae Sternidae Alcidae Charadriiformes is a diverse order of small to medium-large birds. ... Genera Alle Uria Alca Pinguinus Cepphus Brachyramphus Synthliboramphus Ptychoramphus Cyclorrhynchus Aethia Cerorhinca Fratercula Auks are birds of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. ... In biology, binomial nomenclature is the formal method of naming species. ... Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 23, 1707 – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[1] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... 1758 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Genera Alle Uria Alca Pinguinus Cepphus Brachyramphus Synthliboramphus Ptychoramphus Cyclorrhynchus Aethia Cerorhinca Fratercula Auks are birds of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. ...

Adult birds are black on their upperparts and white on the breast and belly. The thick black bill has a blunt end. The tail is pointed and longer than that of a Murre. In winter, the black face becomes white. Genera Alle Uria Alca Pinguinus Cepphus Brachyramphus Synthliboramphus Ptychoramphus Cyclorrhynchus Aethia Cerorhinca Fratercula Auks are birds of the family Alcidae in the order Charadriiformes. ...

Their breeding habitat is islands, rocky shores and cliffs on northern Atlantic coasts, in eastern North America as far south as Maine, and in western Europe from northwestern Russia to northern France. They usually nest in colonies and lay their eggs on bare rock or ground. Look up Atlantic Ocean in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... World map showing Europe A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is one of the seven traditional continents of the Earth. ...

North American birds migrate offshore and south, ranging from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to New England. Eurasian birds also winter at sea, with some moving south as far as the western Mediterranean. Flock of Barnacle Geese during autumn migration Many species of birds undertake seasonal journeys of various lengths, a phenomenon known as Bird migration. ... Map showing the Grand Banks Historic map of the Grand Banks. ... Newfoundland —   (stress on final syllable; for mispronunciations, see Newfoundland travel guide from Wikitravel)— (French: , Irish: ) is a large island off the east coast of North America, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. ... This article is about the region in the United States of America. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ...

These birds forage for food by swimming underwater. They mainly eat fish, like sandeels, herring and capelin, also some crustaceans and marine worms.

 Razorbill, Roest, Norway
Razorbill, Roest, Norway

Image File history File links Alca_torda_Roest_2003. ... Image File history File links Alca_torda_Roest_2003. ...

Example occurrences

Locations which are known to support Razorbill populations:

Staple Island is a small rocky island that is one of the outer Farne Islands in Northumberland, England. ... The Inner Farne seen from Seahouses harbour The Farne Islands (also referred to less formally as the Farnes) are a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland, England. ... Location of the British Isles The British Isles is a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe consisting of Great Britain, Ireland, and a number of smaller surrounding islands and islets. ... Grímsey north of Iceland Grímsey is a small island 40 km north off the northern coast of Iceland, situated directly on the arctic circle, at 66°3317N, 018°0103W, with a highest elevation of 105 meters. ...

Evolution and prehistoric species

While the Razorbill is the only living species, the genus Alca had a much higher diversity in the Pliocene. As far as is known, the genus seems to have evolved in the western North Atlantic or the present-day Caribbean, which its ancestors would have reached through the still-open Isthmus of Panama during the Miocene (Bédard, 1985). A number of fossil forms have been found: The Pliocene epoch (spelled Pleiocene in some older texts) is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5. ... West Indian redirects here. ... The Isthmus of Panama. ... The Miocene epoch is a period of time that extends from about 23 to 5. ...

  • Alca antiqua (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, USA)
  • Alca sp. (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, USA) - possibly A. stewarti
  • Alca stewarti (Early Pliocene of Belgium)
  • Alca ausonia (Yorktown Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, USA - Middle Pliocene of Italy)
  • Alca sp. (Puerto de Mazarrón Pliocene of El Alamillo, Spain) - may be A. antiqua or A. ausonia
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Alca torda

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Wikimedia Commons logo by Reid Beels The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ...


  • Bédard, J. (1985): Evolution and characteristics of the Atlantic Alcidae. In: Nettleship, David N. & Birkhead, Tim R. (eds.), The Atlantic Alcidae: 6-19. Academic Press, London. ISBN 0-12-515671-5
  • BirdLife International (2004). Alca torda. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

  Results from FactBites:
Razorbill (1232 words)
The Razorbill is a bird of the temperate North Atlantic and adjacent parts of the Arctic Ocean.
Razorbills breed mainly on small ledges or in cracks of rocky cliffs and in associated screes, and on boulder-fields.
Seabird 2000 prescribed counting Razorbills between 1 and 21 June, to coincide with the late incubation and main nestling period, and during 08:00 to 16:00 hrs (BST) to coincide with the period of most consistent attendance by birds at the colony from day-to-day.
Razorbill (1074 words)
Razorbills are a study in stark contrasts— not only in their striking, sharply-defined fl-and-white plumage, but also in their amazing life history.
Razorbills spend most of the year solitary and silent at sea, but every breeding season gather on land in dense colonies, forming strong pair bonds and exhibiting complex social behavior.
Razorbills breed on islands and coasts of eastern North America, including Maine and the Atlantic provinces of Canada, as well as isolated locations along the Hudson Strait.
  More results at FactBites »



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