Little Auk Alle alle
The smallest and most numerous of the auk species on Svalbard. Often seen in small flocks in flight to and from the colonies in screes and mountain slopes or foraging on the sea. A common bird over the whole island group from the end of March until the adults and young leave the colonies in August and move north to open ocean near the ice edge. Some few appear again on the coast from late September and into the polar night. The population exceeds one million pairs.
Features: 19-21 cm, 130-200 gram. ♂=♀. In summer plumage (black head and upper breast) from arrival and until they leave the colonies. Easily recognizable in flight as a compact little bird with rapid wing beats (often in dense flocks). The young birds resemble the adults when they leave the colony, but are slightly smaller. In winter plumage the whole underside from chin to tail is pure white.
Breeding: Nests in screes and rock crevices, often high in the mountains. A few colonies consist of many hundred thousands of birds.