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Cassin's Auklet

Silhouette AuksAuks
Cassin's AukletPtychoramphus aleuticus
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Alcidae

Basic Description

A plump, slaty gray little seabird with a small white mark above the eye, Cassin’s Auklet breeds in colonies on islands throughout the eastern North Pacific. This inconspicuous species is unfamiliar to many birders, although it can be quite numerous a short distance offshore of the West Coast. These birds spend most of their lives at sea and only return to their nesting burrows under cover of darkness, when breeding colonies come alive with the eerie screeching of thousands of individuals.

More ID Info
image of range map for Cassin's Auklet
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Cassin’s Auklets forage mostly offshore and out of sight of land, so it's best to take an organized pelagic birding trip to search for them and other seabirds. Watch for these tiny, round-bodied birds taking flight low off the water, with rapid wingbeats, as your boat approaches. On occasion, they come closer to the coast, where they can be studied with a spotting scope.

Other Names

  • Mérgulo Sombrío (Spanish)
  • Starique de Cassin (French)
  • Cool Facts

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