Fun Auk Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 16, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Auk facts are full of interesting information and graphic details.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

Auk is a sea-bird of the Aves class, order Charadriiformes. There are several types of auks found in the world. Among them, the great auk has become extinct.

Even though these birds closely resemble the penguins, they aren't necessarily related. The closest living relatives of the great auk are thought to be the razorbill auk. The last known great auk was spotted in Iceland in the year 1844.

The auk spend the majority of their time in the sea. During the breeding season, the bird comes to the land to build a nest.

The female usually lays only one egg and the incubation takes place on the bed of pebbles. Both parents share the responsibility of keeping the egg warm. Once the egg hatches, food is fed to the chick by both males and females.

Auks and the penguins have several similar habits. They search for prey in the sea. The food consists of crustaceans, fishes, and small invertebrates.

If you like this article on auk, check out the other article on collared forest falcon facts and saker falcon facts for more.

Auk Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an auk?

Auk is a kind of sea-bird similar to the likes of albatross and puffin.

What class of animal does an auk belong to?

Auk belongs to the class called Aves.

How many auks are there in the world?

The exact number of the auks is not known.

Where does an auk live?

Most species of auks are found in the Pacific Ocean. They aren't found far south since they prefer cool waters, closer to the food source.

Some auks are also found in Mexico and Calfornia in the south. Around six species of auks are found in the Atlantic Ocean. However, compared to the species population found in the northern part, which is around 19-20, the  Atlantic population is quite low.

They are found in islands in Iceland, Newfoundland, South Georgia, and Falkland. Species like great auks from the North Atlantic aren't found anymore.

What is a  auk's habitat?

Auk habitat has a large distribution of its population scattered in the rocky islands in the North Atlantic Coast, the northern waters. These auks build their colonies in oceanic water.

Who do auks live with?

Auks are social birds and they live in colonies like penguins.

How long does an auk live?

The average lifespan of the great auks is between 20-25 years. The little auk lives for around eight years.

How do they reproduce?

Auks are monogamous in nature. This bird species generally have one life partner its entire life.

This bird species is pelagic in nature, meaning they live in the open sea. During the breeding season, these  auks go to the shore.

Some species of them, namely the thin billed murre, from the North Atlantic and North Pacific region, spend a significant part on the rocky islands, defending the nest from the predators. A variety of behavior is showcased by different varieties of the bird.

Uria guillemots is a type of auk that builds huge breeding colonies on the edges of the cliff. Whereas, the  Cepphus guillemots build small breeding colonies and reside in the rocky islands. The little auk species has chosen the rocky shores for foraging and making the nest.

Even though the breeding process takes place on the land, they are completely dependent on the sea for their food. During spring and summer, these birds build the largest breeding auk colony among all other species.

They are known to lay the egg in between the rocks. Like the penguin, the incubation process takes place on pebbles.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these birds is diverse since a lot of different kinds of auks are found around the world. Great auks, Pinguinus impennis, belonging to the family Alcidae, have been given the Extinct status by the IUCN Red List.  Whereas, little auk, Alle alle has been given the Least Concern status.

Auk Fun Facts

What do auks look like?

Auks have a very similar color combination like the penguins, which is black and white. This seabird has short wings. Little auk turns entirely black during the course of the breeding season.

These birds have an upright posture like the penguin as well. The flightless bird, great auks had predominantly black feathers.

The white feathers were present only on the chest and abdomen areas. The wings were much shorter than the other varieties of auks found, making them the only flightless variety of auks. These birds also have webbed feet that enable them to be good at diving.

The facts in the auk article are vivid and engrossing to read.

How cute are they?

Auk is an adorable bird who has webbed feet with which they waddle. Great auks have tiny wings which add to the cuteness factor. These similar-looking black and white birds like the penguins stand upright and have cute button eyes.

How do they communicate?

Seabird like the auk has specialized hearing aids underwater. Their external ear creates an external barrier for the eras. They are also known to produce sounds and locate their prey during diving. The auks are also known to communicate through a series of vocalizations.

How big is an auk?

Different types of auk have a variety of sizes. Great auks, Pinguinus impennis, was around 29.5 in (75 cm) tall. Whereas the little auk, (Alle alle) is 7 in (17.7 cm) tall on average.

How fast can an auk fly?

Great auk with its extremely short wings was known to be a flightless bird. However, little auk is known for its flight speed of 43.4 mph (69.8 kph).

How much does a auk weigh?

The great auk weighed around 11 lb (5 kg) on average. The little auk weighs around  4.9-6.7 oz (138.9-190 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names have been given to male and female auks.

What would you call a baby auk?

A baby auk is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Auks feed on fishes, crustaceans, and small invertebrates.

Are they dangerous?

Auks are not considered dangerous birds. They live in the sea, far away from human habilitation. However, they can become quite protective about their egg during the breeding season. They are known to attack any predatory advances for the protection of the family.

Would they make a good pet?

Auks are not suitable to be kept as pets as they are wild animals.

Did you know...

The auk and the penguin aren't related to one another but they have many similar habits.

Every day the little auks dive into deep seawater to search for food. They make large colonies on the land during the breeding season and find an appropriate site to lay the egg.

The number of little auks found is quite stable in number, unlike the other auks.

Little auks often search their prey by making sounds underwater.

Male little auks and female little auks look very similar to each other.

Great auks are the only flightless auks among all other auks present. All others are capable of flying.

Different birds of the Alcidae family

There are different types of auks belonging to the family Alcidae. Great auk, was found in the cold Atlantic Ocean.

It has the genus name called Pinguinus. Common murray, found in the Atlantic Ocean, has the genus of Uria. Little auk is found in the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and far south as the United States and the United Kingdom.

Why did great auk go extinct?

The great auk, the bird that most resembled a penguin, was exploited extensively for its meat and feathers. This is the primary reason behind its extinction.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sea eagle facts and falcon facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Daurian Redstart coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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