auk


auk
/awk/, n.
any of several usually black-and-white diving birds of the family Alcidae, of northern seas, having webbed feet and small wings. Cf. great auk, razor-billed auk.
[1665-75; < Scand; cf. ON alka]

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In general, any of 22 species of diving birds (family Alcidae), especially the little auk and the razorbill, or razor-billed auk.

Auks are 6–16 in. (15–40 cm) long, with short wings and legs and webbed feet. They occur only in Arctic, subarctic, and temperate regions (with a few species south to Baja California). Auks nest colonially on cliff ledges or in rock crevices or burrows near the sea; many spend the winter far from land. They feed on fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and plankton. True auks are black and white and stand erect on land. See also great auk.

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bird
      in general, any of the 22 species (21 living) of diving birds of the family Alcidae (order Charadriiformes), but especially three species, the great auk (q.v.; Pinguinus impennis), extinct since 1844; the little auk, or dovekie (q.v.; Plautus alle); and the razorbill, or razor-billed auk (q.v.; Alca torda).

      Birds of the auk family, often called alcids (Alcidae), range in length from about 15 to 40 cm (6 to 16 inches), though the great auk was about 75 cm (30 inches) long. They have short wings and legs and webbed feet. Limited in distribution to Arctic, subarctic, and north temperate regions (with a few species south to Baja California), they nest colonially on ledges of cliffs and in rock crevices or burrows adjacent to the sea, and many spend the stormy winter months far from land. Auks are wholly dependent upon the sea for their food, which consists of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and plankton. Although great auks could not fly, the living species can.

      The true auks are black and white and stand erect on land, as do the penguins of the Antarctic. A related smaller bird is the auklet (q.v.). See also guillemot; murre; murrelet; puffin.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Auk — Auk, n. [Prov. E. alk; akin to Dan. alke, Icel. & Sw. alka.] (Zo[ o]l.) A name given to various species of arctic sea birds of the family {Alcid[ae]}. The great auk, now extinct, is {Alca impennis} (or {Plautus impennis}) . The razor billed auk… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • AUK — and similar can mean: * Auk, a type of bird * The Auk, an American ornithological journal * AUK, IATA code for Alakanuk Airport in the Wade Hampton Census Area, Alaska * Audax UK, a cycling organisation * American University in Kosovo, part of… …   Wikipedia

  • AUK — steht für The Auk (englisch für „Der Alk“), die Zeitschrift der American Ornithologists’ Union AUK steht als Abkürzung für: Abgasuntersuchung Kraftrad in Deutschland Auckland, neuseeländische Region als Regionalcode nach ISO 3166 2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Auk — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. AUK peut faire référence à : Alakanuk Airport, dans la région de recensement de Wade Hampton en Alaska, aux  États Unis The Auk, une revue… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Auk — steht für The Auk (englisch für „Der Alk“), die Zeitschrift der American Ornithologists’ Union AUK steht als Abkürzung für: Abgasuntersuchung Kraftrad in Deutschland Auckland, neuseeländische Region als Regionalcode nach ISO 3166 2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • auk — *auk, *auke germ., Konjunktion: nhd. auch; ne. also; Rekontruktionsbasis: got., an., ae., afries., anfrk., as., ahd.; Etymologie: vergleiche …   Germanisches Wörterbuch

  • auk — auk·let; auk; …   English syllables

  • auk — [o:k US o:k] n [Date: 1600 1700; : Norwegian; Origin: Icelandic alk, alka, from Old Norse alka] a black and white seabird with short wings …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • auk — [ ɔk ] noun count a black and white sea bird with small wings that goes under water to catch fish …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • auk — (n.) 1670s, from a Scandinavian source, Cf. O.N. alka, probably originally imitative of a water bird cry (Cf. L. olor swan, Gk. elea marsh bird ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • auk — ► NOUN ▪ a short winged black and white diving seabird. ORIGIN Old Norse …   English terms dictionary


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