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Genus II.--Alca, Linn. Auk

Genus II.--Alca, Linn. Auk

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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Bill as long as the head, feathered as far as the nostrils, beyond which it is very high, exceedingly compressed, and obliquely furrowed on the sides; upper mandible with the dorsal line decurved, the ridge extremely narrow, the sides nearly flat, the nasal groove very large, and feathered, with its lower margin very narrow, and convex, the edges sharp and inflected, the tip decurved, very narrow, but obtuse; lower mandible with the angle very narrow, and having a horny triangular appendage, the sides at first extremely narrow, towards the end erect and flat, the edges inflected, the dorsal outline concave, the tip decurved. Nostrils medial marginal, linear, short, concealed by the feathers. Head large, ovate; neck short and thick; body full, rather depressed. Feet placed far behind, short, stout; tibia bare for a short space; tarsus very short, compressed, anteriorly scutellate; hind toe wanting; anterior toes of moderate length, rather slender, scutellate, webbed, the outer slightly longer than the middle. Claws rather small, arched, compressed, obtuse. Plumage close, blended, very soft. Wings very short, narrow, acute, first quill longest. Tail short, tapering, of twelve or fourteen feathers.

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