Crested Auk in Summer

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“Simorhynchus cristatellus. Crested Auk. Snub-nosed Auk. Bill fundamentally small and simple, compressed-conic, with convex culmen and little sinuate horizontal commissure; but in the breeding season developing several corneous appendages, which alter its shape greatly, make it singularly irregular, and modify even the outline of the feathers at its base. These accessory pieces are: a nasal plate, filling the nasal fossa, separate from its fellow of the opposite side; a subnasal strip prolonged on the cutting edge of the upper mandibles backwards from the nostrils; a rosette-like plate at base of upper mandible just over angle of the mouth; a large shoe encasing the posterior part of the under mandible; the latter single, the other three pieces in pairs, making seven in all which are moulted; all these elements vermilion or coral-red; end of the bill enamel-yellow. (Before acquiring these growths the young bird is tetraculus of authors; the adult in winter, after shedding the, is dubius.)” Elliot Coues, 1884


Bird Anatomy


Elliot Coues Key to North American Birds (Boston, MA: Estes and Lauriat, 1884)


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