Alcidae – Auks, murres & puffins

This colorful family lost a member for a good mid-19th century – the great auk

Birds in this family have evolved so successfully for their job as maritime birds that they solely need land for nesting. The length of living species is 6–18 in (12–45 cm), and their weight is 0.17–2.4 lb (0.4–1.1 kg). The tail is also tiny, and the wings are thin and short. The foregoes are webbed, while the rear of the foot has no toe. The Brachyramphus murrelets have brown summer plumage contrasting with their black, white, and grey plumage.

Throughout the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific, and only in the Northern Hemisphere.
Alcids spawn on shorelines, seaside cliffs, islands, and (in a few species) coastal woods and live nearly entirely on the surface of cooler ocean waters.