Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Creature Feature #29: Crested Auklet

This charming seabird numbers in the millions, forming massive breeding colonies along the Bering Sea, sometimes intermingling with its cousin, the Least Auklet. It is named for the rather appealing crest it dons every breeding season along with a scent reminiscent of tangerine (citrus fruit).

When not breeding and smelling of fruit, the Auklet flocks a short distance out to sea, with thousands of the birds taking to the water, in short dives and well articulated swimming strokes, to chase (and eat) plankton.

Whilst certainly their numbers are large enough (approximately 6 million) to make them of little concern conservationally speaking, some populations having suffered great losses in oil spills and they also experience predation whilst on the nest, particularly from rats that disembark from fishing vessels.

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