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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Razorbill

Razorbill Razorbill Razorbill Razorbill

 

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Razorbill

Alca torda

Gaelic: Coltraiche, Làmhaidh

Photography © Suzanne
Dail Beag - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
8th October, 2008

 

"At Dail Mor loch (Lewis) 11 Whooper Swans including at least 1 juvenile... There was also a Manx Shearwater washed up on the beach, like most folk I have never seen one close. I took a few photo pics for ID if anyone is interested. One of the old names is 'Puffin' it looked just like a wee auk. "

Later...
" Just to say the pictures of a dead Manx shearwater on your site actually show a young Razorbill
Cheers
Martin "

 

So much for ID photos - As you can see my field skills need attention - fortunately the experts are keeping an eye me!

This is photo of a Manx Shearwater's bill for comparison.

 

Our Razorbill photographs:

Razorbill
Razorbill
Razorbill
Razorbill
Razorbill
Razorbill
June
Razorbill
July
Razorbill
with puffins
Razorbill
Dead but useful ID

 

  • Razorbill
  • Alca torda
  • Gaelic: Coltraiche, Làmhaidh
  • UK: Migrant/Resident Breeder, Winter Visitor. 164,000 birds (Summer) BTO . See from breeding cliffs & sea-watching points
  • WI: Abundant migrant breeder (10,000+ breeding pairs)
  • Breeding: Large colonies. Laying a single large egg on bare rock or ground. Islands, rocky shores & cliffs on North Atlantic coasts including Scotland. Also East North America. N &W Europe. NW Russia.
  • Winters: Eurasian birds winter in N Atlantic nr breeding grounds. Some head south to western Mediterranean.
  • Habitat: Coastal cliffs, otherwise at sea (pelagic) nr breeding grounds
  • Diet: Forages for food by swimming underwater. Fish, especially sandeels, sprats and herrings, some invertebrates
  • Medium-sized seabird (38-43cm length). Black above, white below. (In winter black face becomes white). Thick black, bill with blunt end. Pointed tail. Birds only come to shore to breed
  • Typical lifespan 13yrs. Max recorded age 14yrs 11mths
  • Listen to a Razorbill (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds Guillemot, Puffin

 

Both partners of a razorbill pair take turns about in foraging, and caring for the egg or young. Whilst the egg is incubating the non-sitting parent will forage to feed up to 35 miles to to sea, but when the egg hatches they forage much closer - up to 7 miles away.

Razorbills nest in large colonies. They lay a single large egg, the eggs all have different patterns to each other - it is thought that this is to help the parents identify their own egg.

 

The collective name for razorbills and other auks is a raft, colony, flock of auks.

 

Razorbill records in the Western Isles

Abundant migrant breeder (10,000+ breeding pairs)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)


On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Razorbill is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)

 

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section


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