Distribution and habitat


The great auk ranged from Canada to Norway, including Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

They migrated south in the winter, and bones have been found as far south as Florida and Gibraltar.

Most of the great auk skeletons in museums around the world are made up of bones from Funk Island, off Newfoundland.


The great auk foraged in shallow waters, and came ashore on rocky offshore islands only to breed. Breeding islands were remote and mostly low-lying, and usually quite close to rich fishing grounds.