Great Auk

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 05 August 2007
Scientific Name
Pinguinus impennis
  • Charadriiformes
  • Alcidae
  • Pinguinus
  • P. impennis
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
  • 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

Czech (Cesky) Alka Velká
Danish (Dansk) Gejrfugl
Dutch (Nederlands) Reuzenalk
Finnish (Suomi) Isoruokki / Ssiivetön Ruokki
French (Français) Grand Pingouin
German (Deutsch) Riesenalk
Italian (Italiano) Alca Impenne
Japanese (日本語) オオウミガラス (Ooumigarasu)
Korean (한국어) 큰바다쇠오리 (Keunbadasoeori)
Norwegian (Norsk) Geirfugl
Polish (Polski) Alka Olbrzymia
Russian (русский язык) Бескрылая гагарка
Swedish (Svenska) Garfågel
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