Bird Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Pinguinus impennis
Great Auk

Great The Great Auk became extinct in 1844.


Distinguishing Features - Length: 71 - 75 cm. Colouration: upper parts, black, becoming dark brown on sides of head, throat and neck; chest and underparts, white; large white patch in front of eye; bill, black with whitish grooves.


This large, flightless bird is thought to have once bred on rocky islands and coasts of the North Atlantic in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles and Scandanavia. A strong swimmer, the Great Auk migrated to winter as far south as Florida and southern Spain.

Its extermination began with a slaughter for food, bait and oil, and eggs by local inhabitants. Finally, on June 4, 1844, three fishermen made a trip to the Icelandic island of Eldey to collect auk specimens. Unwittingly, they killed the auk they found, thus completing the extinction of the species.

Home | Forest Capital of Canada | About Our Website |
Ontario's North (West) Forest | Boreal Forests of the World | North (West) Forest Industry |
World Links and Resources | "Forest Finder" Search Engine | Educational Resources |
What's Happening | Contacts | Site Map |