Fun Crested Auklet Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Crested auklet facts about the bird species with a forehead crest and orange bill.

The auklet, often known as the sea sparrow, consists of flocks of six species of tiny seabirds in the Alcidae family (order Charadriiformes) in North America. These birds typically breed in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific, although some flocks of winter adults spend the breeding season as far south as Japan and Mexico.

Auklets have variations in the breeding season in their plumage and vary from similar murrelets, in that they have plumes and other head decorations, including brightly colored bill plates like puffins.

These birds deposit a solitary egg and nest in cracks near the sea. Auklet babies stay in the nest until they are completely fledged.

The crested auklet (Aethia cristatella) is a tiny seabird of the Alcidae family that lives in the Bering Sea and the northern Pacific region.

The species eats by diving deep into the ocean and consuming krill and other tiny marine invertebrates. Here are some interesting facts on crested auklets.

Here are some of the most interesting facts about these majestic seabirds, found resting on sea cliffs. Afterward, do have a look at our other articles on the Victoria crowned pigeon and winter wren as well.

Crested Auklet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a crested auklet?

Crested auklet (Aethia cristatella) is one of the similar species of birds of North America hailing from the family Alcidae. Their nesting colonies can be found in coastal areas. During the non-breeding season, these birds are found living on the open ocean.

What class of animal does a crested auklet belong to?

Aethia cristatella (crested auklet) is a bird species that belongs to the family Alcidae. As per the National Audubon Society, the most distinguishing feature in these birds are the forehead crests which are made of anywhere between 2-23 black curving feathers.

Crested auklet nests in huge colonies with birds of similar species. The nests are located deep in rock crevices on sea-facing talus slopes.

How many crested auklets are there in the world?

The standard International Union for Conservation of Nature considers crested auklets to be of the least concern. The world population of a winter plumage crested surpasses 8.2 million individuals, including an estimated 2.9 million birds in North America.

Where does a crested auklet live?

Crested auklets may be found in the northern Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Crested auklets tend to live offshore and along the coastlines of isolated Bering Sea islands. This bird species is especially common during the non-breeding winter months throughout the Aleutian Islands, Kuril Islands, and the Russian island of Sakhalin.

What is a crested auklet's habitat?

They are one of the most numerous planktivorous sea birds in the North Pacific, and they reproduce in colonies alongside other auklet species. Rock cracks in talus slopes, boulder fields, or lava flows are essential for nesting.

Simorhynchus cristatellus build their mating colonies along the rocky cliffs in deep rock crevices, facing the sea. Crested auklets are deep water foragers who frequently find food far from their nesting grounds.

During the winter, they congregate in the ice-free waters of the Gulf of Alaska and northern Japan. There is little information available on this species' spring/fall migratory and winter distribution.

Who do crested auklets live with?

As per the National Audubon Society, crested auklets are extremely social creatures that travel in huge groups at sea and breed in big colonies. Crested auklet nests in huge colonies with birds from similar species. These birds migrate to islands and shorelines during spring

How long does a crested auklet live?

The longevity of crested auklets in the wild and in captivity is unknown. This species has an estimated lifetime of 7.7 years. According to statistics from research in Buldir, Alaska, the projected yearly survival rate of adults in the community is 86 percent. These researchers color-coded certain birds at Buldir and then tracked their longevity.

How do they reproduce?

Crested auklets are monogamous throughout their breeding lives with supposedly only one breeding partner during the breeding season. Pair bonds are created during the mating season as a result of extensive wooing rituals and trumpet calls by these bird species in their respective colonies.

Copulation occurs exclusively at sea in this species. During the breeding season in their colonies, males will vigorously guard females by scaring others away with bill stabs.

Some crested auklet males engage in extra-pair copulations to evaluate the reproductive success of potential future spouses.

It is the male's responsibility to protect the female after she lays an egg and to care for her after the egg is laid. As she approaches a male who is trumpeting and doing a show by doing a ruff sniff display, the female starts courting.

What is their conservation status?

Crested auklets colonies population has the Least Concern on the IUCN Red List in terms of conservation status. The population is not listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of the United States, but they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Hence, no conservation efforts are required at the moment.

Crested Auklet Fun Facts

What do crested auklets look like?

Crested auklets are little birds. Males and females have similar appearances. They are distinguished from other auklet species by the fact that their entire body plumage is black.

Crested auklets have large white irises as well as a white feather stripe on either side of their head. Their bills have a vibrant reddish-orange color with a golden tip.

The bill shape of this species changes between sexes in that the female's bill is less curled and somewhat smaller in size than the male's bill. During the breeding season, the adult males' bill has a notable curvature supposed to aid them in agonistic interactions.

The only difference between sexes is that males have longer feathers on their napes and necks.

During courtship, they rub the wick-like feathers on their backs, on each other.

How cute are they?

The beautiful coloring on these auklet populations makes them look adorable, with an eye-catching appearance.

How do they communicate?

Crested auklets communicate through visual, chemical, tactile, tangerine scent, trumpet call, and auditory cues. During the mating season and in large groups at sea, they are quite loud.

Six types of voice communication have been observed. Barking, trumpeting, cackling, hooting, whining, and crackling are some examples. During nesting season in their colonies, the birds emit a strong citrus fruit odor.

How big is a crested auklet?

A crested auklet is 7.1–10.6 in (18–27 cm) in length and have a wingspan of 13​–20 in (34–50 cm).

How fast can a crested auklet fly?

The crested auklet is a fast flyer with recorded speeds of up to 90 mph (144 kph) during the breeding season in its range of habitat.

How much does a crested auklet weigh?

The crested auklet is a tiny seabird in the Alcidae family that weighs 6.9–11.6 oz (195–330 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for these North American male and female crested auklets. They are known as males and females respectively. Females have slightly smaller and less curved bills as compared to males.

What would you call a baby crested auklet?

There is no specific name for a baby crested auklet, they are known as juveniles. Juveniles have a similar appearance to that of winter adults but without the auricular and crest plumes. Their bills are also smaller and are of a yellowish color.

What do they eat?

Calanoid copepods, Thysanoessa euphausiids, hyperiids, mysids, fish, gammarids, and squids are among the crustaceans and other marine invertebrates eaten by crested auklets. They are deep-sea divers who hunt on colonial euphausiids on the ocean floor in social groupings. They hunt their prey underwater in a quick wing-propelled underwater flight.

Are they dangerous?

They are aggressive toward other Aethia species, especially the least auklet. A few whiskered auklets are pushed off of nesting nooks and display regions on colonies and other nesting colonies.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they are not meant to be kept as a pet as their habitat is not suitable for a household.

Did you know...

There are two distinct characteristics through which these birds are identified. The first is the auklet crests present at the top of the head and the second is the odor originating from tiny wick feathers.

Female crest length is the primary factor of male mate switching between years. An average auklet will have 12 crest feathers albeit of varying length.

Non-breeding adults have a darker bill and the barest hints of a crest.

Crested auklets are not found in Siberia, rather a similar species whiskered auklet (Aethia pygmaea) is found there. Another auklet to check out is the rhinoceros auklet.

Crested auklet draws its name from the crest emerging over the top of its orange bill.

Do crested auklets produce some chemicals?

During courting, crested auklets rub a citrus-like aroma released in wick-like feathers on their backs on each other. The behavior is widely recognized in certain mammals, such as peccaries, but has never been observed in birds. Researches also suggest that the activity may help protect the birds from parasites such as ticks.

Do crested auklets bark?

Yes, these birds are the nosiest of the auklets when in the reproducing provinces, expressing with moans, low hoots, snorts, and barking calls. Peaked auklets are profoundly friendly, remaining in huge gatherings adrift, and settling in huge settlements.

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 green jay facts and marsh wren facts pages.

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

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

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Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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