Fun Rhinoceros Auklet Facts For Kids

Sonali Rawat
May 09, 2023 By Sonali Rawat
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma
Discover interesting rhinoceros auklet facts about this interesting bird right here.

The rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) is a species of seabirds mainly found in North America and parts of Asia like Japan and Korea. Their range includes California, South Dakota, the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, Hokkaido, Washington, and the Pacific coast.

They are the only species left in the order Charadriiformes and they are in the Alcidae family and have the genus of Cerorhinca. Rhinoceros auklets are also known as unicorn puffins and horn-billed puffins. They are closely related to puffins like the tufted puffin.

Rhinoceros auklets, like all auks, are diving birds and hunt for food underwater. Their main diet involves small fish, particularly schooling fish species and crustaceans.

They tend to return to the shore only during the breeding season when the rhinoceros auklet is known to create nesting colonies. They create these nesting colonies in close vicinity to each other and hunt and fly in flocks. These nesting birds lay their eggs in deep burrows and usually lay only one egg each breeding season.

Rhinoceros auklets are dark gray on the upper side and pale gray below. They have a sharp bill with a white horn as well.

If you like these birds, you can also check out the articles on the kea parrot and the golden eagle.

Rhinoceros Auklet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a rhinoceros auklet?

The rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) is a species of nesting seabirds or auks found in North America and Asia. The most common areas they have been spotted in are Washington, Alaska, and Hokkaido.

What class of animal does a rhinoceros auklet belong to?

The rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) is a bird that belongs to the order Charadriiformes, the family Alcidae, and the genus of Cerorhinca.

How many rhinoceros auklets are there in the world?

The global population of this bird species is considered to be more than 1,300,000 breeding individuals. The rhinoceros auklet bird has a conservation status of Least Concern, which means that its population is relatively stable.

Where does a rhinoceros auklet live?

The rhinoceros auklet is found in coastal areas of North America and Asia. This includes California, Alaska, Washington, the Pacific coast, the Aleutian Islands, South Dakota, Hokkaido and Honshu in Japan, and finally the Korean Peninsula and Sakhalin Island. They built nests in dense colonies on cliffs or burrows.

What is a rhinoceros auklet's habitat?

The rhinoceros auklet is a versatile seabird found both in coastal areas and far from the land. Like all auks, their preferred habitat is near the shore, where food is abundant but they often fly far into the oceans during day time.

This bird can also be found in rocky areas and cliffs during the breeding season. The maximum distance away from the shores that they travel is about 10 miles (16 km).

Who do rhinoceros auklets live with?

The rhinoceros auklet is a bird species that lives in flocks or nesting colonies. Many of their behavioral patterns are difficult to observe as they are nocturnal, but it is known that during breeding, they nest in close or dense colonies and help to protect their eggs and nest.

How long does a rhinoceros auklet live?

The average lifespan of the rhinoceros auklet is about seven to 11 years in the wild. The maximum age recorded for a rhinoceros auklet is around 28 years!

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the rhinoceros auklet species is generally in the summer months, usually from May to June. This bird will dig burrows for a nest in both forest and non-forest areas.

These burrows are used as nesting sites. The eggs of these birds are laid at the end of the burrows in colonies.

Each burrow has a nest at the bottom, built with moss and twigs. A female rhinoceros auklet will lay one egg and both parents will incubate the egg for about five to seven weeks and chicks are ready to leave the nest in seven to eight weeks.

These birds generally stay on the open ocean and will return to the islands or shores only for breeding. They also nest in nesting colonies with their family and leave for the south during the non-breeding season.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this species is Least Concern. The numbers of these birds are noticing a slight decline due to climate change, oil spills, bycatching, and predators.

Rhinoceros Auklet Fun Facts

What do rhinoceros auklets look like?

The rhinoceros auklet is a large bird that is closely related to the tufted puffin. They are darker gray on their upper side and pale gray on their underside.

The breeding plumage of this bird includes an orange-yellow bill. Each side of this bird's head has light feather tufts, arranged in a line from the eye and the mouth corner. Non-breeding adult birds or juveniles do not have a horn but it is an important part of the breeding plumage.

How cute are they?

The rhinoceros auklet species is beautiful. The orange-yellow horn that they develop in the breeding season is particularly amazing and the small white horn on its bill makes it the unicorn of birds!

How do they communicate?

Rhinoceros auklets communicate using shrill calls and sounds. The horn on their bill is fluorescent and is therefore visible while hunting underwater, allowing the birds to locate each other. They may also use smell or body language to communicate.

How big is a rhinoceros auklet?

The average height of a rhinoceros auklet can range from 11.0-11.4 in (28-29 cm) and their wingspan will range from 23.2-24.4 in (59-62 cm). These birds are twice and sometimes thrice as big as a hummingbird.

How fast can a rhinoceros auklet move?

The average North American and Asian rhinoceros auklet flight speed is around 50 mph (80 kph).

How much does a rhinoceros auklet weigh?

The average weight of rhinoceros auklets can range from 12.3-21.9 oz (350-620 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male and female names for this species.

What would you call a baby rhinoceros auklet?

A baby rhinoceros auklet is called a juvenile or a chick.

What do they eat?

Rhinoceros auklet birds feed on crustaceans and small fish. The most hunted fish species are sand lance, anchovies, rockfish, and other schooling fish.  

Are they poisonous?

Rhinoceros auklets are not a poisonous species and are mainly harmless to human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

The rhinoceros auklet is a sea bird that loves a coastal habitat and food. They are better left to be free as they belong to the sky and not in a cage.

Did you know...

The rhinoceros auklet can catch multiple fish in one dive, without losing any of this slippery prey! This is because of the spikes in the upper jaws of these auks.

The Rhinoceros Auklet's Range

This is a North American bird that is also found in various parts of Asia like Japan and Korea. The rhinoceros auklet range covers Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, South Dakota, California, the Pacific coast, Washington, Hokkaido, Honshu, and the Sakhalin Islands.

Scientists believe that climate change will impact this bird's range in years to come, as summer heatwaves will endanger the survival of young chicks, and urbanization will result in a loss of habitats.

The Rhinoceros Auklet's Call

The rhinoceros auklet call is similar to a low, nasal mooing sound. They are also known to make calls or sounds like barking, groaning, squealing, and chirping.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our Toco toucan facts and American kestrel facts pages.  

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

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Written by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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Fact-checked by Shray Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

Shray Sharma picture

Shray SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

As an aspiring web and app developer, Shray has a passion for working with promising startups. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Maharaja Surajmal Institute Of Technology while gaining experience in digital marketing. Shray has already earned a Google Analytics Certification and is well-equipped to handle analytics and data management tasks. He has also served as a marketing manager at Parallax Virtual Arts, where he oversaw the company's social media, content, and SEO strategies. Shray's goal is to create engaging content that resonates with audiences and offers valuable insights.

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