Razorbill, Alk, Tordalk, Torda-mergulheira, Alca Común

Spotted near Sines in the Alentejo region of Portugal.                                                                     Razorbill sound

The Razorbill (Alca torda) is a colonial seabird that only comes to land in order to breed.

Razorbill Birding Portugal

More photos at the bottom of this page.

This agile bird chooses one partner for life; females lay one egg per year. Razorbills nest along coastal cliffs in enclosed or slightly exposed crevices. The parents spend equal amounts of time incubating. Once the chick has hatched, the parents take turns foraging for their young and sometimes fly long distances before finding prey.

The Razorbill is primarily black with a white underside. The male and female are identical in plumage; however, males are generally larger than females. In 1918, the Razorbill was protected in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Presently, the major threat for the population is the destruction of breeding sites.

The Razorbill has white underparts and a black head, neck, back and feet during breeding season. A thin white line also extends from the eyes to the end of the bill. Its head is darker than that of a Common Murre. During the nonbreeding season, the throat and face behind the eye become white, and the white line on the face becomes less prominent. The thick black bill has a blunt end. It is large for an alcid and its mean weight ranges from 505 to 890 g (17.8 to 31.4 oz).

The female and male adults are very much alike, having only small differences such as wing length. The wing length of adult males ranges from 201–216 mm (7.9–8.5 in) while that of females ranges from 201 to 213 mm (7.9 to 8.4 in).

This species has a horizontal stance and the tail feathers are slightly longer in the center in comparison to other alcids. This makes the Razorbill have a distinctly long tail which is not common for an auk.

The annual survival rate of the Razorbill is between 89-95%. Though the Razorbill’s average lifespan is roughly 13 years, a bird ringed in the UK in 1967 has survived for at least 41 years — a record for the species.

Razorbill Birding Portugal
Razorbill Birding Portugal
Razorbill Birding Portugal
Razorbill Birding Portugal
Razorbill Birding Portugal

 Other synonyms:

Asturian: Alca, Monxa
Breton: An erv beg plat, Ero beg plat
Catalan: Gavot, Pingdai
Catalan (Balears): Pingdai
Czech: Alka malá
Welsh: Aderyn brith, Gwalch y penweig, Gwalch y pysgod, Llurs
Danish: Alk
German: Tordalk
English: Razorbill, Razor-billed Auk
Esperanto: aûko
Spanish: Alca, Alca Común
Estonian: Alk
Basque: Gavot , Pottorro arrunta
Finnish: Ruokki
Faroese: Álka, Nakkalanga
French: Gode, Petit Pingouin, Pingouin torda, Pinguin torda
Irish: Crosán
Gaelic: Coltraiche, Falc
Galician: Carolo, Gavot
Manx: Coltrag
Hungarian: Alka
Icelandic: Álka
Italian: Gazza marina
Japanese: oohashiumigarasu
Greenlandic: Apparluk
Cornish: Gelvyn lym
Latin: Alca torda
Lithuanian: Alka
Latvian: Lielais alks
Dutch: Alk
Norwegian: Alke, Brednebbet alke, Klubbalke
Polish: alka, alka (zwyczajna), Alka krzywonosa, Alka zwyczajna, Nurzyk polarny
Portuguese: torda mergulhadeira, Torda-mergulhadeira, Torda-mergulheira
Russian: Gagarka
Northern Sami: Hálkka
Slovak: Alka vrúbkozobá
Slovenian: mala njorka, njorka
Serbian: Alk, mala njorka
Swedish: Tordmule
Turkish: Usturagaga

Birders Birdwatching Holiday in the Alentejo region of Portugal, Individual guided tours, trips, excursions and birding holiday..

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