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Rare razorbill seabird spotted in local waters

Rare razorbill seabird spotted in local waters

A rare seabird called a razorbill was spotted in Maltese waters by Daniel Spiteri just a few days ago.

Daniel was on his usual spearfishing adventure, when he stumbled, or should we say swam, across a rare sight in local waters: a juvenile razorbill swimming rather close to him. The video was shared to the Impetus Spearfishing page, with the caption: “not spearfishing related, but definitely an experience worth sharing during a dive session last week. The ocean never fails to surprise.”

According to Daniel, the last confirmed recording of such an animal was in 2002! Check out the footage below:

What is a razorbill seabird?

The striking black and white razorbill (alca torda) is migratory and can lead a predominantly aquatic lifestyle, coming on land only to breed. They’re monogamous and frequently share their breeding sites with other auks, like puffins and guillemots.

Their breeding sites are often coastal cliffs, in crevices and on ledges. They don’t generally build nests and the females usually lay a single egg per season, often returning to the same site year after year. When the chick is ready to leave the nest, it just jumps from the ledge and descends almost vertically, with its wings whirring until it enters the water on its tummy. The male continues to feed the chick for several weeks!

Adult razorbills typically forage close to the breeding ground in loose flocks when feeding their young and their strong, streamlined body and half-opened wings propel the birds through the water to depths of 25-30 metres to catch small invertebrates or fish such as herring and sand-eels.

Interestingly, the razorbill is the closest living relative to the flightless great auk, which went extinct in 1844!

Pretty cool, huh?