Rhinoceros auklet

Cerorhinca monocerata

The rhinoceros auklet is a seabird and a close relative of the puffins. It is the only extant species of the genus ''Cerorhinca''. Given its close relationship with the puffins, the common name rhinoceros puffin has been proposed for the species.

It ranges widely across the North Pacific, feeding on small fish and nesting in colonies. Its name is derived from a horn-like extension of the beak . This horn is only present in breeding adults, and like the elaborate sheath on the bill of puffins is shed every year.

The rhinoceros auklet , is a medium-sized auk with a large, strong, orange/brown bill . The plumage is dark on top and paler below; breeding adults possess white plumes above the eyes and behind the bill. Males are slightly larger than females .
Rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) Half Moon Bay pelagic trip, California. Aug 17, 2019 Cerorhinca monocerata,Geotagged,Rhinoceros auklet,Summer,United States

Naming

The genus ''Cerorhinca'' evolved in the North Pacific, apparently in the mid-late Miocene. Although today only one species remains, it used to be much more diverse, both in number of species and in distribution. Fossils have been found as far south as Baja California. The first record of the clade from the Atlantic Ocean was reported by Smith et al. and suggests that the biogeographic history of ''Cerorhinca'' is more complex than previously thought. Known prehistoric species are:

⤷  Dubious auklet, ''Cerorhinca dubia'' L. H. Miller, 1925
⤷  ''Cerorhinca minor'' Howard, 1971
⤷  ''Cerorhinca reai'' Chandler, 1990
⤷  ''Cerorhinca aurorensis'' N. A. Smith, 2011 a Nomen Nudum, only published in a PhD dissertation,
⤷  ''Cerorhinca'' sp.

Distribution

The rhinoceros auklet is a North Pacific auk that breeds from California to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska in North America; and Hokkaidō and Honshū, Japan, as well as the Korean Peninsula and Sakhalin Island in Asia. It winters both in offshore and inshore waters, exhibiting some migration.

Reproduction

The rhinoceros auklet nests in burrows dug into the soil, or in natural caves and cavities between 1 and 5 m deep. It prefers nesting sites on slight inclines to aid take-off, as it is a poor flier. A single egg is incubated by both parents for 45 days. The semiprecocial chick is then fed each night with a bill full of fish for 50 days; this nocturnal behaviour is believed to be a response to predation and kleptoparasitism by gulls.

Rhinocerous Auklets are monogamous, and although they migrate across similar areas during the non-breeding season, pair-mates migrate separately. However, they do synchronize their foraging activity once they return to the colony during the pre-laying period.

Food

At sea, rhinoceros auklets feed on fish, with some krill and squid taken also. They feed inshore during the breeding season in the midwater. To catch their prey, they dive as deep as 57 meters for as long as 148 seconds.

Evolution

The genus ''Cerorhinca'' evolved in the North Pacific, apparently in the mid-late Miocene. Although today only one species remains, it used to be much more diverse, both in number of species and in distribution. Fossils have been found as far south as Baja California. The first record of the clade from the Atlantic Ocean was reported by Smith et al. and suggests that the biogeographic history of ''Cerorhinca'' is more complex than previously thought. Known prehistoric species are:

⤷  Dubious auklet, ''Cerorhinca dubia'' L. H. Miller, 1925
⤷  ''Cerorhinca minor'' Howard, 1971
⤷  ''Cerorhinca reai'' Chandler, 1990
⤷  ''Cerorhinca aurorensis'' N. A. Smith, 2011 a Nomen Nudum, only published in a PhD dissertation,
⤷  ''Cerorhinca'' sp.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderCharadriiformes
FamilyAlcidae
GenusCerorhinca
SpeciesC. monocerata