Auks, Guillemots & Puffins (Alcidae)
Members of this family are small to medium-sized seabirds that are well adapted to swimming and diving, but not so for flying and walking. Although no species has lost the power of flight, in many respects they are the northern hemisphere equivalent of penguins. These birds have small heads, compact bodies and short wings, and they are mostly black or dark above, and white below. They have short tails, webbed feet, and stubby to quite large bills. The legs are set well back on the body, useful for swimming but not for making progress on land. Like penguins, they use their wings to "fly" underwater.
There are 22 species worldwide, which are mostly confined to the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Six species breed in Europe.
Species seen but not photographed:
  • Black Guillemot : Fishguard, Pembs (May 2014)