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Common name Razorbill
Scientific name Alca torda
Type Seabirds
Status Wintering

Medium-sized bird (approx 35 cm or 14 in) of marine habits and elongated silhouette. The bill is high and flattened laterally, black coloured with a characteristic white line. Black upperparts and white underparts. Thick neck, long and pointed tail, black legs and behindhand with respect to the body.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Marine species that is usually on the high seas. It looks for areas with rocky cliffs and cold waters to breed and in winter it can be seen in waters near the coast.

How it lives

Wintering species and scarce in the province that is also seen in migratory passage. It breeds in colonies and from May, laying its only egg in cracks of cliffs. Couples spend the winter separately and offshore, although they are faithful for life. This bird feeds on fish and crustaceans that it detects by putting its head into the water at intervals while swimming on the surface. It then dives and starts a fast chase, until the prey is caught. The Razorbill uses legs and wings to propel itself underwater. When it swims on the surface it does it with the tail raised and the body almost out of the water.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

It can be watched from the coast in the Port of Malaga, Caleta de Vélez, the coast of Marbella to Estepona and between Manilva and Casares.

Curious facts

Razorbills are birds with a very hydrodynamic shape. The wings are used as fins, the legs as oars (in fact they are clumsy walking on land). For all this, they have been considered at the popular level as the "penguins of the northern hemisphere". However, they are very agile when flying. They do it with a strong beating of wings and always close to the sheet of water.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration