Razorbill

Scientific name: Alca torda

Did you know: Razorbills are dedicated partners, choosing one mate for life, and both parents take turns in nurturing their young – a true testament to avian monogamy!

What Do Razorbills Look Like? (how to identify them)

Razorbills are medium-sized seabirds, easily identified by their black upperparts and white underbelly. A defining feature is their thick, black beak, marked by a distinctive white line

Measuring 37-39 cm in length with a wingspan of 63-67cm, they’re a sight to behold on the UK’s rocky coasts.

Differences Between Male And Female Razorbills

While male and female Razorbills are similar in plumage, males are generally larger. However, this size difference is subtle and can be challenging to discern in the field.

What Do Razorbills Eat?

Razorbills’ diet consists mainly of fish, particularly sandeels, sprats, and herrings. They are skilled divers, catching their aquatic prey with precision and agility.

Where Do Razorbills Live? (inc. migration info)

Razorbills are native to the North Atlantic. In the UK, they are mostly found breeding in northern Scotland. These birds are exclusively coastal, spending most of their life at sea and only coming ashore for breeding.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Razorbills)

Razorbills are not particularly vocal at sea but can be heard making deep, croaking sounds during the breeding season, especially in their cliffside colonies.

Fun Razorbill Facts (kid friendly)

  • Razorbills can dive up to 120 metres deep to catch fish.
  • They can live up to 13 years in the wild.
  • Razorbills lay only one egg per year, which both parents incubate.
  • These birds are excellent swimmers, using their wings to ‘fly’ underwater.
  • In winter, Razorbills’ faces turn white, while in summer, they are all black.
  • They are the closest living relatives of the extinct great auk.
  • Razorbill chicks leave the nest by taking a brave leap into the sea from towering cliffs.
  • During flight, Razorbills’ wings beat rapidly, creating a blur.
  • They nest in large colonies alongside other seabirds like Guillemots.
  • Razorbill pairs often perform synchronised diving and feeding.

Razorbill Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Razorbill

Diet: Fish, especially sandeels, sprats and herrings.
Bird Family: Auks
Length: 37-39 cm
Wingspan: 63-67 cm
Weight: 590-730 g
Scientific Name: Alca torda

The Razorbill Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December