Sunday, 5 April 2015

Day 153 - Resplendent Razorbills

Hi all today's Day 153 and, as you probably know, I have been at Bempton Cliffs and I saw quite a lot of things that I haven't yet done a post on yet. Two of which both look almost exactly the same as each other. You will know from the title and he pictures that I am talking about the Razorbill. The one that it looks like is the Guillemot but that's not important for today.

Razorbills (Alca torda)
How do they cling on?
One of the things that amazes me about seabirds is how they seem to cling to the sheer rock face on ledges that seem to be not even as wide as the birds. More amazing is that their eggs don't fall off. This is due to the shape of the eggs, they are pear shaped and this causes them to spin on the spot rather than roll of the cliff - very handy!

So, I did my Razorbill research and here's what I found:

  • They are resident all around the coast of the UK except for Norfolk, Southern England and the North-North-East of Scotland. The largest colonies of Razorbills live in Northern Scotland.
  • They are an Amber Status bird even though there are 130,000 breeding pairs in the UK. The reason for this is they are a localised breeding population.
This is my spot!
  • Their Latin Name Alca torda means Razorbill the Razorbill. Alka = Razorbill and Tordmule = The Razorbill.
  • Part of Auk family Razorbills are related to Puffins and Guillemots.
  • The average Razorbill will raise only 3.42 children to breeding age (4 years). This is because they have 9 years of breeding, they only lay one egg in a clutch, they only have one clutch a year and the juvenile survival is only 38%.
  • They are 38cm long and they have a 66cm wingspan. Both Male and Female Razorbills weigh 710g.
Pairing up
  • They have a typical lifespan of a massive 13 years! But the maximum age will blow you away. 41 years 11 months and 23 days!...
  • The Razorbill egg is enormous. It is equivalent to a human bearing an 18-20 pound baby! That's big!
Close up
  • The Razorbill egg also has individual markings on it. This is probably to help the parents find it on the very densely populated cliffs of which they breed on.
  • For food the Razorbills main prey is fish, especially sand eels, sprats and herrings. If you watched Easterwatch you'll know that sand eels are being affected by climate change and warming sea's. They don't like it to warm so this might explain why the Razorbills are most concentrated in Northern Scotland.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. I love Razorbills, amazing photos here Zach as always! - Tasha