great auk noun
: an extinct large flightless auk (Pinguinus impennis) formerly abundant along North Atlantic coasts
First Known Use of GREAT AUK
great auk noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Flightless seabird (Pinguinus impennis) extinct since 1844. Great auks bred in colonies on rocky islands off North Atlantic coasts; fossil remains have been found as far south as Florida, Spain, and Italy. Their bodies were about 30 in. (75 cm) long; the wings, used for swimming underwater, were less than 6 in. (15 cm) long. They stood erect on land and had a black back and head, a white front, and a large white spot between the eye and the black bill. Great auks were hunted to extinction for food and bait. About 80 specimens are preserved in museums. See also auk.
Mounted specimen of great auk (Pinguinus impennis)—John Warham
Learn More About GREAT AUK
Seen & Heard
What made you want to look up great auk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).