This species is no more. It was done to death by humans who killed it for oil, food and as a trophy. It was a huge flightless bird closely related to the Razorbill. It bred on rocky islands with a sloping access to cliffs.
A black and white bird it stood some 800 mm high and had a striking white patch on its head in front of the eye. They used their wings (about the same size as a Razorbill's) for swimming under water. They were easy prey for sailors and while they probably had any number of breeding colonies in Britain, Iceland, Greenland and Canada they were rendered extinct when the last pair were killed in early June 1844 in Iceland. The last record in Britain was probably on St. Kilda four years earlier.
Lost and gone.
Length 800 mm Closed wing 170 mm Weight maybe 8 kgs
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead