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Great Auk

Great Black-backed Gull
Gray-hooded Gull

Previous bird

Gray-hooded Gull

  • Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus
  • Terns & Gulls

About the Great Auk

Also known as: Garefowl, Penguin

The Great Auk is an extinct bird, the only species in the genus Pinguinus, flightless giant auks from the Atlantic, to survive until recent times. Standing at 30 to 34 inches high and weighing around 11 pounds, the flightless Great Auk was the largest of the auks.

In the past, the Great Auk was found in great numbers on islands off eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland and Great Britain, but it was eventually hunted to extinction. The last pair, found incubating an egg, were killed on 3 July 1844, on the island of Eldey off Iceland.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 05 August 2007
Scientific Name Pinguinus impennis
  • Charadriiformes
  • Alcidae
  • Pinguinus
  • P. impennis
Birdorable Family Auks
Conservation Status Extinct
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial Metric
30 to 34 inches


From IUCN Red List:
The Great Auk is listed as Extinct on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species was formerly distributed across the north Atlantic, but is now Extinct as a result of hunting pressure. The last live bird was seen in 1852.

International Names

  • Alka Velká (Czech)
  • Gejrfugl (Danish)
  • Reuzenalk (Dutch)
  • Isoruokki / Ssiivetön Ruokki (Finnish)
  • Grand Pingouin (French)
  • Riesenalk (German)
  • Alca Impenne (Italian)
  • オオウミガラス (Ooumigarasu) (Japanese)
  • 큰바다쇠오리 (Keunbadasoeori) (Korean)
  • Geirfugl (Norwegian)
  • Alka Olbrzymia (Polish)
  • Бескрылая гагарка (Russian)
  • Garfågel (Swedish)

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