great auk

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Related to The Great Auk: Steller's sea cow, Dodo bird

great auk:

see aukauk
, 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
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Great Auk


(Pinguinus impennis), extinct flightless bird of the Alcidae family, close to the modern auk. Its body was up to 70 cm long; its wings were small and well-suited to paddling under water. It fed on fish.

The auk inhabited the Atlantic coast of Europe, North America, and Iceland. In the winter it apparently reached Florida and the Mediterranean Sea. It was hunted for its palatable meat, and in the 19th century it was completely destroyed. The last pair of great auks was killed in 1844 on the island of Elde, near Iceland.

great auk

hunters killed such large numbers, these birds became extinct in 1840s. [Ecology: Hammond, 290]

great auk

a large flightless auk, Pinguinus impennis, extinct since the middle of the 19th century
References in periodicals archive ?
He points out that the great auk co-existed with human hunters for millennia.
The English name penguin comes from the Gaelic words penn gwyn, which means "white cap," referring to the white patch that the adults of the great auk (Pinguinus [=Alca] impennis) had in front of their eyes in the breeding season.
On the other hand, The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk, which is the first book I've illustrated in almost 15 years--all of it done on computer--required the usual excessive amount of research.
Before they were culled the great auk existed in their thousands.
Declines of this magnitude haven't been seen since the extinctions of the great auk and the passenger pigeon," said Dr Martin Gilbert of the Peregrine Fund, which assembled the international team that discovered the cause.
Apparently, within the next few years - well, 125,000 of them - the second sex is going to be as dead as the Dodo and the Great Auk.
There will be a rare opportunity to see examples of extinct animals such as the Tasmanian wolf and the great auk, a flightless sea bird whose extermination was due to its mass slaughter for food and eggs.
Dr Patrick Osborne, of Stirling University said: "The Great Bustard is the only bird that used to breed in Britain 200 years ago and doesn't do so now, apart from the Great Auk.
Above, Allin's eccentric Cabinet of Curiosities stood at the corner of Anne Street and Congreve Street; below left, a stuffed rhinoceros and giraffe greeted surprised visitors to Aston Hall's Natural History collection; below right, The Great Auk, a rare specimen from the collection The Industrial Gallery at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery was mainly filled with objects of industrial and decorative art bought by the gallery's purchase committee, but there were an important number of gifts
So is the great auk (a flightless bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century).
The great auk became the first North American species driven to extinction by humans.