Razorbill (Alca torda)
Razorbill, St. Abbs Head, Scotland, June 2002 - click for larger image Scotland

The Razorbill is mainly found breeding in coastal sites from Spitsbergen, through Scandinavia to Iceland, Britain and northwest France. In winter it is found as far south as Spain and Morocco. Beyond Europe, it is found in Greenland and on the east coast of North America south to Maine.

Razorbill, St. Abbs Head, Scotland, June 2002 - click for larger image Apart from its deep, blunt bill, it is difficult to tell apart from Guillemot Uria aalge especially at a distance. Its small and rather narrow wings beat rapidly to sustain flight while additional lift is given by the spreading of the tail feathers as can be seen in the second photo. From below, it has a whiter "armpit" than the Guillemot.
Razorbill, St. Abbs Head, Scotland, June 2002 - click for larger image It feeds on fish which are mainly caught by surface diving after the bird has spotted its prey by swimming around with its head under water. Like the Puffin Fratercula arctica, it holds fish such as sand eels crosswise in its bill. In some areas it steals food from Puffins and other auks.

It lays its egg on a sheltered cliff ledge and, while it does not build a nest, it usually surrounds its egg with small stones. It only lays one egg per year.

Razorbill with chick, Sound of Mull, Scotland, August 2003 - click for larger image This 4th photo shows an adult Razorbill in non-breeding plumage with a young juvenile.
Razorbill, Mainland, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Razorbill, Handa Island, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Razorbill, North Rona, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Razorbill, North Rona, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Razorbill, Sula Sgeir, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Razorbill, Sula Sgeir, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
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