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Razorbill Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A thickset seabird with narrow wings, rather long tail, short neck, large head, and unique, thick, broad-tipped “razor” bill. Immatures have smaller bills than adults.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Black Guillemot, smaller than a Common Eider.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 16.9 in (43 cm)
      • Weight: 17.8-31.4 oz (505-890 g)
      • Wingspan: 24.8-26.8 in (63-68 cm)

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize two subspecies that differ in size: the larger torda nests from North America east to northwestern Russia, and the smaller islandica of Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and the British Isles.