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Rhinoceros Auklet

Silhouette AuksAuks
Rhinoceros AukletCerorhinca monocerata
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Alcidae

Basic Description

The squat, grayish Rhinoceros Auklet is a close relative of puffins, although it doesn't sport quite such a fancy bill. Still, its name refers to the single vertical horn that sticks up from its orange bill—an odd accessory that turns out to be fluorescent and may be used for visual communication. These seabirds are fairly common along the Pacific Coast of North America, where they hunt close to shore for small schooling fish, pursuing them by "flying" underwater with strong wingbeats.

More ID Info
image of range map for Rhinoceros Auklet
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Rhinoceros Auklets are fairly common breeders in Pacific waters from southeastern Alaska to Washington, and are seen farther south during the nonbreeding season. They can be common sights during whale-watching tours in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea of Washington/British Columbia, as well as in Monterey Bay, California. Dedicated "pelagic" (offshore) birding trips are also likely to find the species. They're sometimes even seen from shore when following schooling prey, so patient scanning of the ocean (ideally with a spotting scope) can turn up a few.

Other Names

  • Alca Unicórnea (Spanish)
  • Macareux rhinocéros (French)
  • Cool Facts