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How To Spot And Photograph The Razorbill

Here's a quick guide from Eschenbach on spotting and photographing the razorbill.

|  Eschenbach Binoculars Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife
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Razorbills live on the inhospitable cliffs of the North Atlantic, they do not fear cold water or high altitude.


The razorbill belongs to the family of alcids and is very similar to the common murre. It measures about 40 cm and has a wingspan of 70 cm.

It has a deep black head and back. Its exceptionally long tail for an alcid is also black. The chest and belly are white. A white line extends from above the eye to the nostril. The black beak is also crossed by a vertical white line.


Distribution and habitat

Like all alcids, the razorbill breeds in the northern hemisphere. These seabirds need the ocean to live. Most of them live in Iceland. They are also found in the British Isles, Canada and Norway.

The razorbill also need steep cliffs. There, it breeds in larger colonies with other seabirds. It often chooses rocky caves or hidden spaces to breed.


Behavior and reproduction

After finding a good breeding place, (A mating pair will often reuse the same nest site each year), the female lays a single cone-shaped egg between May and June. The male and the female take turns to incubate the egg for about 1 month. They put it on their feet and heat it with the plumage of the belly.
After hatching, the chick remains in the area around the nest for 3 weeks and is still fed by the parents. After those 3 weeks, the male parent will take the chick to the sea for its first dive. The chick learns how to feed by itself before it can even fly.

The razorbill mainly eats small fish like capelin, herring and eels. Bristle worms are also part of their diet. It is threatened by oil pollution (oil spill, degassing) and commercial fishing (they can become tangled in fishing nets when diving). The razorbill is considered a potentially threatened species.

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