Deep Dive: Razorbills

by Chris Anderson on June 25, 2023
Razorbills are sea birds that have very distinct markings. They have white feathers on their fronts and black feathers on their backs, including their faces. Their legs are black, and their bills are black with a white stripe.1 
They usually reside in colonies along cliffs by the ocean. While the biggest group of them can be found in Iceland, they are also found along New England’s coast around the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Maine.2 
These birds stand about 15 inches tall. They have a 25-inch wingspan and weigh about 1 to 1.5 pounds.1 When Razorbills are about 4 or 5 years old, they are ready to produce offspring of their own. Males and females will share incubation duties. This takes just over a month. Both males and females will also bring food back for the offspring.3 
One interesting thing to know about these birds is that offspring will often take quite literally a leap of faith before they’re able to fly. After only three weeks, they’ll jump from the nests into the ocean. They’ll be looked after by a parent to ensure they’re safe until they can figure out how to get their own food.2
Razorbills will dive under the water to catch their prey.3 Although they usually only go about 20 feet under to find prey, they’re able to dive much deeper than that when needed.2&3 They usually go after fish.
These birds are vulnerable to both pollution in the water and oil spills.3
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