About the Razorbill

The Razorbill is a large species of alcid that breeds on the rocky shores and cliffs of the northern Atlantic coasts, from eastern North America as far south as Maine to western Europe, from Russia to France.

Razorbills nest in large colonies and lay their eggs on bare rock. They are thought to have an average lifespan of 13 years, but a Razorbill that was ringed (banded) in the United Kingdom in 1967 was seen again in 2008, having reached the age of at least 41 years!

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 19 January 2009
Scientific Name
Alca torda
  • Charadriiformes
  • Alcidae
  • Alca
  • A. torda
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Near Threatened (as of 8 April 2020)
  • 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
15 to 17 inches
24 to 27 inches



From IUCN Red List:
The Razorbill is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2015 by BirdLife International. This species has undergone moderate declines in Europe, including very rapid declines in Iceland since 2005. Crashes in sandeel stocks around Iceland may be a contributing factor in the declines. The species has therefore been uplisted to Near Threatened as it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion A4ab.

International Names

Chinese (汉语) 刀嘴海雀
Czech (Cesky) Alka Malá
Danish (Dansk) Alk
Dutch (Nederlands) Alk
Finnish (Suomi) Ruokki
French (Français) Petit Pingouin
German (Deutsch) Tordalk
Italian (Italiano) Gazza Marina
Japanese (日本語) オオハシウミガラス (Oohashiumigarasu)
Norwegian (Norsk) Alke
Polish (Polski) Alka zwyczajna
Russian (русский язык) Гагарка
Spanish (Español) Alca Común
Swedish (Svenska) Tordmule
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