Alca torda, Line. Syst. Nat. i. p. 210 (1766) ; Naum. xii. p. 606, Taf. 336 ; Audubon, B. Am. vii. p. 247, pl. 466 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 468, pl cxxviii ; Gould, B. of E. v. pl. 401 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 47 ; Dresser, viii. p. 557, pl. 619 ; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvi. p. 565 ; Ridgway, p 18 ; Saunders, p. 695 ; Lilford, vi. p. 79, pl. 36.
Pingouin macroptere, French ; Gazza-marina, Ital. ; Tordalk, German ; Alka, Klumba, Icel. ; Alk, Dutch ; Almindelig Alk, Dan. ; Brednoebbet Alke, Norweg. ; Tordmule, Swed. ; Ruokki, Finn.
Male ad. (Greenland). Upper parts, wings, and tail glossy black ; sides of head and throat brownish black ; a white line from the ridge of the upper mandible on each side to the eye ; short secondaries tipped with white ; under parts white ; bill black with a curved vertical white line on each side ; legs and iris black. Gape 2.0, wing 8.1, tail 3.4, tarsus 1.35 inch. Sexes alike. In winter the throat and sides of the head and neck are white, and the upper parts duller and browner. The young bird resembles the adult in. winter, but has the bill shorter, weaker, and less elevated.
Hab The North Atlantic, not further than about 73° N., south to the Mediterranean ; the Azores and the Canaries ; on the American coasts to southern New England.
The Razorbill is essentially a sea-bird, and on the water swims and dives with the greatest ease, and its flight is direct and rapid. Its food consists of small fish, which it obtains by diving. It breeds on the ledges of cliffs close to the sea, almost always in societies, frequently in countless numbers, generally in company with one or other of the species of Guillemot, de-positing in May, on the bare ground, a single egg, which is pyriform in shape, rather elongated, in ground-colour buffy stone or buffy white, sometimes with a faint greenish tinge, marked with purplish grey shell-markings and brownish black or black surface spots and blotches, which are more numerous at the larger end, and in size measures about 3.28 by 2.0. When held against the light the inner membrane of the empty egg is green.
1187. Alca torda