Meet the Crested Auklet
The Crested Auklet (Aethia cristatella), is a small, peculiar-looking seabird with a bright orange bill (during breeding season) and an eye-catching crest ornament that falls in front of their face. They breed in colonies on remote islands and coastlines around the Bering Sea in Alaska and winters in flocks on nearby waters.
Facts about the Crested Auklet
- Both males and females have crests
- They’ll choose mates based on crest size
- Their plumage smells vaguely of citrus!
- In non-breeding season they live on the open ocean
Impressive Nesting Colonies
During the breeding season, this bird is found only in the Bering Sea and adjacent North Pacific Ocean, and nests in colonies on remote coastlines and islands.
The colonies range in size from a few hundred to possibly more than a million pairs.
Choosing a Nest: Nests are located deep in rock crevices on sea-facing talus slopes, cliffs, boulder fields, and lava flows making it difficult to census them.
Lays One Egg: The female crested auklet usually lays just one egg and it hatches in a little over a month. To feed their hungry newborn chicks, auklet parents store plankton in a pouch under their tongues.