Giant Auks

Giant Auks

Auks are superficially similar to penguins, having black-and-white colours, upright posture, and some of their habits. Nevertheless, they are not closely related to penguins, but rather are believed to be an example of moderate convergent evolution. Auks are monomorphic (males and females are similar in appearance).

Extant auks range in size from the least auklet, at 85 g (3 oz) and 15 cm (5.9 in), to the thick-billed murre, at 1 kg (2.2 lb) and 45 cm (18 in). Due to their short wings, auks have to flap their wings very quickly to fly.

Although not to the extent of penguins, auks have largely sacrificed flight, and also mobility on land, in exchange for swimming ability; their wings are a compromise between the best possible design for diving and the bare minimum needed for flying. This varies by subfamily, with the Uria guillemots (including the razorbill) and murrelets being the most efficient under the water, whereas the puffins and auklets are better adapted for flying and walking.



Apart from the extinct great auk, all auks can fly, and are excellent swimmers (appearing to "fly") and divers, but their walking appears clumsy.


The word "auk" /ɔːk/ is derived from Icelandic álka and Norwegian alka or alke from Old Norse ālka from Proto-Germanic *alkǭ (sea-bird, auk).

The family name Alcidae comes from the genus Alca given by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 for the razorbill (Alca torda) from the Norwegian word alke.

The feeding behaviour of auks is often compared to that of penguins; both groups are wing-propelled, pursuit divers. In the region where auks live, their only seabird competition are cormorants (which are dive-powered by their strong feet). In areas where the two groups feed on the same prey, the auks tend to feed further offshore. Strong-swimming murres hunt faster, schooling fish, whereas auklets take slower-moving krill. Time depth recorders on auks have shown that they can dive as deep as 100 m (330 ft) in the case of Uria guillemots, 40 m (130 ft) for the Cepphus guillemots and 30 m (98 ft) for the auklets.

In a world unlike ours, on a remote island in the middle of the ocean, there lived a species of birds that were unlike anything seen before. These were the giant flying auks, and they were massive, with wingspans so wide that they could easily cover an entire football field.

The giant flying auks were a sight to behold, with feathers as black as coal and eyes that glinted in the sun. They were gentle creatures, spending their days soaring through the skies and gliding over the waves of the sea.

Despite their impressive size, the giant flying auks were graceful in flight, and they moved with a fluidity that was almost hypnotic to watch. Their wings made a whooshing sound as they beat against the air, and their calls echoed across the island, a deep, melodic sound that was both eerie and beautiful.

People came from all over the world to witness the spectacle of the giant flying auks. Some thought them to be mythological creatures, while others believed them to be aliens from another planet.

But no one could deny the awe-inspiring sight of the giant birds, and they became a symbol of peace and beauty in a world that was often filled with chaos and turmoil.

As time went on, the giant flying auks became known as the guardians of the skies, and their legend grew. People would come to the island to catch a glimpse of them, and some even claimed to have seen them on their travels across the ocean.

Though they were a marvel to behold, the giant flying auks remained a mystery, and their secrets were never fully understood. But to those who witnessed them, they were a reminder of the wonders of the world and the limitless possibilities that lay ahead.