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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Some Auks of the Pribilof Islands

October 28th, 2013 · No Comments

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Auks are birds in the alcid family. They range in size from the 3 ounce least auklet to the 2.2 pound thick-billed murre. While they are good swimmers and divers, when they walk on land they look clumsy.

Auks look somewhat like penguins with their black-and-white coloration, their upright posture, and some of their habits. Auks fill a similar ecological niche in the northern hemisphere as penguins do in the southern hemisphere. But auks (except for the extinct great auk) can fly. Auks and penguins are examples of convergent evolution.

Auks live on the open seas of the cool subarctic ocean. They only go ashore for breeding, and the Pribilof Islands are one of the best places to find them.

Least Auklets Are the Most Abundant Sea Bird in North America, but Bred only on the Islands of Alaska and Siberia

Least Auklets Are the Most Abundant Sea Bird in North America, but Bred only on the Islands of Alaska and Siberia

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Crested Auklets Remind Me of the Top Knots of Gambel’s Quail in the Southwest

Crested Auklets Remind Me of the Top Knots of Gambel’s Quail in the Southwest

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Both Male and Female Crested Auklets Wear the Sexual Ornament on their Heads

Both Male and Female Crested Auklets Wear the Sexual Ornament on their Heads

Click on the picture above to enlarge
Crested Auklets Remind Me of the Top Knots of Gambel’s Quail in the Southwest

Parakeet Auklets are Closely Related to Least and Crested Auklets, not to Small Parrots

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Thick-billed Murres are the Largest Living Auks

Thick-billed Murres are the Largest Living Auks

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Birds in the family of auks were those that I most wanted to see when I went to Alaska this summer. The auks in this post are in the alcinae subfamily. The fraterculinae subfamily is more colorful. We usually call the birds in that family puffins, and they come next.

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