Great Auk
Temporal range: Neogene – Late Holocene[1]
A large, stuffed bird with a black back, white belly, heavy bill, and white eye patch stands, amongst display cases and an orange wall
Specimen No. 8 and replica egg in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
Status iucn3.1 EX.svg
Extinct  (1852) (IUCN 3.1)[2]
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Aequorlitornithes
Order: Charadriiformes
Suborder: Lari
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Pinguinus
Bonnaterre, 1791
Species: P. impennis
Binomial name
Pinguinus impennis
(Linnaeus, 1758)
A map showing the range of the great auk, with the coasts of North America and Europe forming two boundaries, a line stretching from New England to northern Portugal the southern boundary, and the northern boundary wrapping around the southern shore of Greenland
Approximate range (in blue) with known breeding sites indicated by yellow marks[3][4]

The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) is a species of flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century. It was the only modern species in the genus Pinguinus.

The Great Auk was the original "penguin" -- a massive, flightless, black-and-white Atlantic alcid. It was hunted to extinction by the middle of the 19th century. It had a rapid, wing-propelled underwater flight.[5]


Alle alle (Little Auk)

Uria aalge (Common Murre)

Uria lomvia (Thick-billed Murre)

Alca torda (Razorbill)

Pinguinus impennis (Great Auk)

Brachyramphus marmoratus (Marbled Murrelet)

Brachyramphus brevirostris (Kittlitz's Murrelet)

Cepphus grylle (Black Guillemot)

Cepphus columba (Pigeon Guillemot)

Cepphus carbo (Spectacled Guillemot)

Similar and related species

The Great Auk resembled a larger Razorbill.







  1. ^ Finlayson, Clive (18 December 2011). Avian survivors: The History and Biogeography of Palearctic Birds. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 157. ISBN 9781408137314. 
  2. ^ Script error
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External links

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