Dovekie

Basic Description

Despite being one of the most abundant seabirds of the Northern Hemisphere, Dovekies live so far north that relatively few bird watchers get to see them. These tiny, black-and-white auks look like flying billiard balls with whirring wings, but they're expert swimmers that dive deeply to hunt zooplankton. They gather in large flocks in Arctic and North Atlantic waters, often around pack ice. Dovekies breed in huge colonies on rocky cliffs and may fly 60 miles to provision their chicks.

More ID Info
image of range map for DovekieRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

The best way to see Dovekies is to take a pelagic (oceangoing) birding trip to offshore waters during winter, especially in January or February and the farther north the better. (Bring warm, dry clothes and seasickness medication.) In New England and maritime Canada in winter, "seawatching"—spending a few hours patiently scanning the ocean with a spotting scope—can produce sightings of Dovekies as well.

Other Names
  • Mérgulo Atlántico (Spanish)
  • Mergule nain (French)
  • Cool Facts