Atlantic puffin and razorbill on a cliff


Auks are the northern hemisphere equivalent of penguins. Whilst they share similar looks, habits and lifestyle however, auks have retained the ability to fly, whereas penguins can't. Although they're not brilliant in the air, auks do excel at swimming and diving, using their short wings to propel themselves along. Auks live out in the open ocean and only come ashore to breed in colonies on cliff ledges, coasts or in burrows. As well as birds that bear the name auk, puffins, guillemots and razorbills belong in this family.

Scientific name: Alcidae

Rank: Family

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Map showing the distribution of the Auks taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Auks can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

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The following habitats are found across the Auks distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

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