fb  Spitsbergen Panoramas - 360-degree panoramas  de  en  nb  Spitsbergen Shop  

Razorbill (Alca torda)


Razor­bill (Fug­løya, Nor­way).

Descrip­ti­on: The Razor­bill is very simi­lar to the Brünich’s guil­lemot and Com­mon guil­lemot, but the black part of the plu­mage is even dar­ker. The main dis­tinc­ti­ve fea­ture is the strong, squa­re-shaped beak with a simp­le pat­tern of white stri­pes. The sexes look the same.


Razor­bill (front) and Com­mon guill­lemot, Ice­land.
The dar­ker plu­mage and the stron­ger beak are visi­ble.

Dis­tri­bu­ti­on / Migra­ti­ons: Razor­bills are sub­arc­tic auks rather than high arc­tic birds. In Sval­bard, they occur in small num­bers only on the west coast, a few bree­ding pairs have been recor­ded in Krossfjord and in Bellsund at Mid­ter­hu­ken. The lar­gest bree­ding popu­la­ti­on in Sval­bard is on Bjørnøya. As far as known, the­se birds win­ter at sea clo­se to the coast of sou­thern Nor­way.

Bio­lo­gy: The bree­ding beha­viour is very simi­lar to that of the Razorbill’s clo­se rela­ti­ve, the Com­mon guil­lemot. One egg is laid in May on a small rock ledge on steep cliffs, safe from the arc­tic fox, one of their main pre­d­a­tors. After the bree­ding peri­od of 35 days, it takes ano­t­her 3 weeks until the chick is lar­ge enough to lea­ve the nest. This is the time when both par­ents will moult, so the who­le fami­ly is flight­less for a while.

Mis­cel­la­ne­ous: In Sval­bard, the Razor­bill is so rare that it is actual­ly almost a curiou­si­ty.


By the way:

New book

my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (3): Die Bären­in­sel und Jan May­en”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!


This and other publishing products of the Spitsbergen publishing house in the Spitsbergen-Shop.

last modification: 2019-05-28 · copyright: Rolf Stange