The Whiskered Auklet is a small seabird that belongs to the Alcidae family. These birds derive their name from the long, white, whisker-like feathers on the sides of their faces. Adult Whiskered Auklets are approximately 20 cm in length, and they weigh around 200 grams. They have distinctively bright orange feet that help them cling to steep, rocky cliffs in their breeding colonies.
The breeding distribution of this bird species is limited to only a few areas, including islands off the coast of Alaska and Russia. They spend most of their time foraging in the Bering Sea and the adjacent waters of the northern Pacific. They prefer to feed on small crustaceans and zooplankton, which they catch by diving into the water.
During the breeding season, Whiskered Auklets assemble in dense colonies, often on steep cliffs or rocky slopes. They communicate with each other using a range of calls, songs, and visual displays. Their nesting sites are often attended by pairs who perform courtship displays and preen each other's feathers. They lay a single egg in a small crevice or burrow, and both parents take turns incubating the egg and feeding the chick.
The conservation status of the Whiskered Auklet is classified as "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, a significant population decrease was noted in the 1980s, and today, the population is still recovering, but slowly. Despite being a protective species in Russia, climate change, habitat destruction and overfishing have all negatively impacted the population of this bird species, making it vulnerable in the wild.
In summary, the Whiskered Auklet is an interesting seabird with some unique physical and behavioral adaptations. Despite being relatively small, they are important components of the marine ecosystem, and their conservation should be continued to protect them from long-term threats.