Great Auk

Great Auk

Pinguinus impennis


Once a majestic symbol of the North Atlantic's rugged coasts, the Great Auk was a bird of striking contrast and remarkable endurance. With its jet-black back, gleaming white belly, and distinctive white patch between the eye and bill, it was an unforgettable sight on the rocky islands where it bred. Known for its deep, growling call and impressive diving abilities, the Great Auk was a remarkable presence in the ocean's icy waters. Today, it stands as a poignant reminder of the profound impact humans can have on the natural world.

Appearance and Identification

Males and females have similar plumage

Primary Color


Secondary Colors


Secondary Colors (female)

Secondary Colors (juvenile)

Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color


Beak Type


Beak Color


Leg Color


Distinctive Markings

Large white patch between bill and eye

Tail Description


Size Metrics

70cm to 80cm


110cm to 130cm


4kg to 5kg



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Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Deep growl

Call Description

A hoarse growling sound

Alarm Calls


Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Spent most of the day hunting for food in the ocean

Social Habits

Lived in large colonies on rocky islands

Territorial Behavior


Migratory Patterns

Moved south in winter, north in summer

Interaction with Other Species

Interacted with other seabirds at feeding and breeding sites


Primary Diet

Fish, Crustaceans

Feeding Habits

Dived deep into the sea to catch prey

Feeding Times

Throughout the day

Prey Capture Method

Diving and seizing

Diet Variations

Depended on the season and location

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known


Nesting Location

Rocky islands

Nest Construction

Simple scrape in the ground

Breeding Season


Number of clutches (per breeding season)

Normally one

Egg Appearance

White with brown blotches

Egg Size

Approximately 12cm x 7cm

Clutch Characteristics

Single egg

Incubation Period

Approximately 6 weeks

Fledgling Period

Around 2 months

Parental Care

Both parents cared for the chick

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

North Atlantic, from North America to Europe and Greenland

Habitat Description

Open ocean and rocky islands

Elevation Range

Sea level

Migration Patterns

Moved south in winter, north in summer


Marine, Coastal

Climate zones

Polar, Temperate

Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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