Crested Auklet: Small, oddly attired seabird of Arctic waters with dark gray body. Head has a strange, smiling orange bill, quail-like crest, bright yellow-white eyes and white eye plumes. Legs and feet are gray. Feeds on zooplankton, crustaceans, squid and fish. Swift, low, direct flight.
Range and Habitat
Crested Auklet: Breeds in the Aleutians and other islands and coasts around Bering Sea. Spends winters in nearby ocean waters and nests on island coasts where sliding rocks form a talus slope, with the largest boulders at the bottom and bare cliff at the top, near the sea for feeding.
It stores plankton in a pouch under its tongue to feed to the chick.
Research also indicates that the behavior could help protect the birds from parasites, such as ticks.
The Crested Auklet rub a citrus-like scent, secreted in wick-like feathers on their backs, on each other during courtship, a behavior called alloanointing. It is well known among some mammals, such as peccaries, but until now was not documented among birds.
A group of auks has many collective nouns, including a "colony", "loomery", and "raft" of auks.
The Crested Auklet has a large range, estimated globally at 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers. It is native to the United States, Japan, and the Russian Federation, though it has been spotted in Canada and Mexico. This bird prefers rocky marine ecosystems that are neritic, oceanic, intertidal, or coastal. The global population of this bird is 8,200,000 individuals and it does not appear to meet population decline criteria that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. The current evaluation status of the Crested Auklet is Least Concern.