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The least auklet (Aethia pusilla) is the most abundant seabird in North America. In fact, it’s one of the most abundant in the world! With a population of around nine million, they breed on the islands of Alaska and Siberia. Their largest colonies lie on the Aleutian Islands, St. Lawrence Island and Little Diomede Island.
Least auklets feed by diving underwater into batches of krill and other small marine life. Like all auks, they are pursuit divers. This means they use their wings to provide thrust and “fly” under the water. Despite their tiny size, they are voracious predators. These little birds consume 86% of their body weight in fish each day.
Least auklets are highly colonial. They nest in rocky crevices in colonies of up to a million birds. These colonies are often mixed, with other species of auklet nesting with, and competing with, the least auklets. While this coexistence may bring the benefits of protection from predators, least auklets are vulnerable to being displaced from their nesting sites by the larger crested auklets.