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Auk

 

Description: The great auks are ruffly 30 to 33 inches tall and weighed around 11 lbs., making it the largest member of the alcid family. Great Auks have a black back and a white belly. The black beak is heavy and hooked, with grooves on its surface. During summer, the great auk's plumage showed a white patch over each eye. During winter, the auk lost these patches, instead developing a white band stretching between the eyes. The wings were only 5.9 in long, rendering the bird flightless. Instead, the auk is a powerful swimmer, a trait that it uses in hunting. Its favorite prey is fish, including menhaden and capelin, and crustaceans.

Lifestyle: Although agile in the water, Auk’s are clumsy on land. Great Auk pairs mated for life. They nested in extremely dense and social colonies, laying one egg on bare rock. The eggs are white with variable brown marbling. Both parents incubated the egg for about six weeks before the young hatch. The young auk leaves the nest site after two or three weeks although the parents continued to care for it.

Auks breed on rocky, isolated islands with easy access to the ocean and a plentiful food supply, a rarity in nature that provided only a few breeding sites for the auks. When not breeding, the auks spent their time foraging in the sea.

Combat: The great auk usually dive into the ocean to escape trouble, but if they are cornered the can use their beaks.