Highlighted Seabirds of the Bering Sea

Auklets include a number of different species. Our primary concern in the Bering Sea is with the Crested Auklet, Least Auklet and the Parakeet Auklet. They all feast on plankton, with the addition of small fish for the Crested Auklet and jellyfish for the Parakeet Auklet. Crested and Least Auklets nest in natural rock crevices on bare talus slopes. Parakeet Auklets are found nesting in crevices on talus slopes, cliffs and grassy slopes. Auklet nesting habitat overlaps with preferred invasive rat habitat thereby placing auklets in greater threat of predation than many other seabirds.

Strorm-Petrels found in the Aleutian Chain include Fork-tailed and Leach's Storm-Petrels. Both species feed on plankton. Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels may be more at risk of predation by rats than Leach's Storm-Petrels due to their preference for nesting in rocky crevice burrows. Leach's Storm-Petrels are found nesting in grassy island burrows only at night.

Puffins include both the Horned Puffin and the larger, Tufted Puffin. Their diet consists primarily of small fish; however, they have also been known to consume small amounts of squid and crustaceans. Puffins nest in burrows and crevices found on steep rocky island slopes and are also at risk of predation by invasive rats. 

Cormorants found in the Bering Sea include Pelagic Cormorants and Double-crested Cormorants. Unlike the other two species found in Alaska, Red-faced Cormorants live and breed only in the North Pacific, Bering Sea ecoregion. Pelagic and Red-faced Cormorants nest in narrow cliff ledges. Double-Crested Cormorants, which migrate throughout the U.S., nest in trees and on rocks and sandy beaches. Cormorants feed by diving for fish.

Kittiwakes include two species. Red-legged Kittiwakes live and breed only in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. Black-Legged Kittiwakes breed in the northern reaches of both the east and west coasts and winter in the southern regions of both the east and west coast.

Terns found in Alaska include only two species. The Aleutian Tern lives and breeds only in the North Pacific, while the Arctic Tern spends summers in the circumpolar environment, migrating south along the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans during winter. These birds feed on fish and nest in colonies on grassy islands, often near water.


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