Skip to Content

Razorbill Life History


Habitat OceansBack to top


Food FishSchooling fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Cliff

Nest Description

Shallow bowl of pebbles, vegetation, feathers, bones, and shells. Placed in open spaces between boulders, in cracks in rocks, caves, or on narrow cliff ledges. Nests in colonies.

Nesting Facts

Egg Description:Whitish with dark blotches around large end.
Back to top


Behavior Surface DiveDives underwater to capture prey, using its wings to swim.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernRazorbill populations are currently thought to be stable or increasing throughout major parts of the species' global range. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental breeding population of 76,000 birds, rates the species a 14 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and lists it as a Species of Moderate Concern. Razorbill is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Exploitation by people for food greatly reduced Razorbill populations until the early 20th century. With protection, the species increased. Back to top


Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

Lavers, Jennifer, J. Mark Hipfner and Gilles Chapdelaine. (2009). Razorbill (Alca torda), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

Back to top

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin

Close Merlin