auk

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auk

(ôk), common name for a member of the family Alcidae (alcid family), swimming and diving birds of the N Atlantic and Pacific, which includes the guillemots and puffins. Their legs are set far back on their bodies, making them clumsy on land, where they seldom venture except to nest. The extinct, flightless great auk, Pinguinus impennis, or garefowl, represents the largest species. It was about the size of a goose, black above and grayish white below, and was formerly abundant in the N Atlantic. Slaughtered in its breeding grounds for its flesh, feathers, and oil, it became extinct c.1844. The least auklet (about 6 1-2 in./16.3 cm), common in the Bering Sea region, is the smallest of the family, and the razor-billed auk, Alca torda (16–18 in./40–45 cm), is the largest surviving member. The Eskimos hunt the dovekie (Plautus alle), or little auk, for food and use its feathered skin for clothing. Auks return to the same breeding grounds every year, and each individual goes to the very same nesting site. The single egg is laid on bare rock on cliff ledges, and incubation duties are shared by both parents. Auks are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Alcidae.

auk

[ȯk]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of several large, short-necked diving birds (Alca) of the family Alcidae found along North Atlantic coasts.

auk

1. any of various diving birds of the family Alcidae of northern oceans having a heavy body, short tail, narrow wings, and a black-and-white plumage: order Charadriiformes
2. little auk a small short-billed auk, Plautus alle, abundant in Arctic regions
References in periodicals archive ?
During the breeding season, the Kittlitz's Murrelet population in northern Alaska is estimated to be -500 birds, but this estimate increases to -9000 birds during the post-breeding season (Day et al.
They might also be applied to two other species, Craveri's murrelet and black-vented shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas), that disappeared from Rasa at least a century ago and might now be returning (Velarde et al.
The presence of brown pelicans, least terns and Xantus's murrelets, listed as vulnerable, threatened and endangered species and all recorded during on-the-water surveys, also reflects, in general and at smaller scale, the occurrence of these species as reported by other authors for the SCB (Bonnell and Dailey, 1993, Schmitt and Bonnell, 2003).
What do polar bears, Pacific walrus, spectacled eiders, and Kittlitz's murrelets have in common?
The spill killed over 20,000 sea birds, including marbled murrelets.
The murrelet - usually found near Japan - could have been lost in the Atlantic for some years.
The murrelet is about the size of a robin and the only seabird to nest in old-growth forest," wrote Briggs.
The unassuming marbled murrelet lives in the Pacific Northwest, but perhaps not for long.
Although the marbled murrelet is not as well-known or threatened as the spotted owl, it serves as an apt case study of environmental issues.
Similar strategies could be used in Headwaters Forest to keep visitors from harming the murrelet.
If the murrelet is rebounding, it's because the park service wiped out native predators.
Two summers ago, for example, the government of British Columbia sold the logging rights to a marbled murrelet nesting area north of Vancouver--even subsidizing the sale.