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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Little Auk



Awaiting image for this species



Little Auk

(Dovekie, Rotchie)

Alle alle

Gaelic: Falcag


  • Little Auk
  • Alle alle
  • Gaelic: Falcag
  • UK: Passage/Winter Visitor
  • WI: Uncommon winter vistor (recorded in low numbers each year)
  • Breeds: Nests: Crevices & under rocks. Forms vast colonies. Coastal mountainsides of Islands in high Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America
  • Winters: At sea - Northern North Atlantic, (wind-driven further south)
  • Starling sized seabird: Black above (& wings), white below. Black stubby bill, short neck & small rounded tail. Winter: lower face & fore-neck go white.
    Flight: Low & direct across sea. Short wings beat very fast (whirring). See from seawatching places late October - February (mainly late October & November)
  • Habitat: Cliffs at coast, or at sea
  • Diet: Forages swimming underwater: Zooplanton (Tiny marine creatures), fish
  • Listen to a Little Auk RSPB site (Good one!)


The Little Auk is possibly world's most numerous seabird.

Glaucous Gulls eat Little Auks.


Autumn gales can send the food that the Little Auks eat to depths beyond their reach. Starvation, tide and high winds drives the birds en mass to range for food outside of their usual areas, these groups are called wrecks and have been recorded in 1982/3, 1990 and 1995. The 1995 one involved 40,000 birds off the Yorkshire coast. Strays can wander inland & sometimes tag along with other migrating birds.

(Later note: Friday 10th November, 2007 over 30,000 Little Auk were seen off the British Coastline).


Little Auk records in the Western Isles

Uncommon winter vistor (recorded in low numbers each year)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the bird is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)




Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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