Razorbills Razorbills

Razorbills

There are about 10,000 razorbill (Alca torda) in Orkney – a member of the auk family locally called the coulter-neb or sometimes the sea crow (sea craa). They are noisy, quarrelsome birds that nest in colonies on sea cliffs or boulders undercliff between March and the end of July. They spend winters inshore or at open sea. They are black above and white below with thick, black beaks, much blunter than the similar guillemot. The beak has a neat white line across the middle. Marwick Head in the west mainland is a favourite breeding ground as is North Hill on Papa Westray and the island of Copinsay.

Razorbills on an Orkney cliff

Razorbills on an Orkney cliff

Profile of an Orcadian razorbill

Profile of an Orcadian razorbill

A group of razorbills on a cliff ledge in Orkney

A group of razorbills on a cliff ledge in Orkney

A duo of razorbills in Orkney

A duo of razorbills in Orkney

A razorbill ready to take off from the cliff face

A razorbill ready to take off from the cliff face

Inside Birds

A Fulmar chick after hatching

Fulmars

The fulmar is known as a mallimack or malli in Orkney dialect. Its common names are the Northern fulmar, fulmar petrel or Arctic fulmar and its proper name is Fulmarus glacialis. Orkney is a paradise ...

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Razorbills

Guillemots

The guillemot (Uria aalge), known as the aak in Orkney, has a dark brown head, neck and upperparts. It has a distinctive white line across closed wings. The bill is black and tapering and legs are dar...

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An Orkney puffin, with its distinctive beak

Puffins

Everybody’s darling, the puffin, or the tammie norrie as it is affectionately known in Orkney, brings a smile to the face of anyone lucky enough to see it. This small auk is worth seeking out in som...

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A gannet in flight in Orkney

Gannets

This large, bright, attractive bird with black wingtips is known as the solan goose in Orkney. There are 5,000 pairs in Orkney with the largest colony on remote Sule Stack 40 miles west of mainland Or...

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The Great Skua in flight over Orkney

Great Skua

This great pirate of the skies is infamous in Orkney for terrorising anyone who goes near its nest during the breeding season. Always known in Orkney as the bonxie, its dive-bombing tactics around you...

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Razorbills

Wading Birds

Razorbills on an Orkney cliffProfile of an Orcadian razorbillA group of razorbills on a cliff ledge in OrkneyA duo of razorbills in OrkneyA razorbill ready to take off from the cliff faceLapwing Al...

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Razorbills

Birds of Prey

Click to Enlarge Razorbills on an Orkney cliffClick to Enlarge Profile of an Orcadian razorbillClick to Enlarge A group of razorbills on a cliff ledge in OrkneyClick to Enlarge A duo of razorbills in ...

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Razorbills

Migrating Ducks

Razorbills on an Orkney cliffProfile of an Orcadian razorbillA group of razorbills on a cliff ledge in OrkneyA duo of razorbills in OrkneyA razorbill ready to take off from the cliff faceShelduck A...

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