The great auk was a flightless bird of the alcid family that became extinct in the mid-19th century. It bred on rocky, isolated islands with easy access to the ocean and a plentiful food supply, a rarity in nature that provided only a few breeding sites for the auks. When not breeding, the auks spent their time foraging in the waters of the North Atlantic, ranging as far south as northern Spain and also around the coast of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Ireland, and Great Britain. The Irish name for the great auk is ‘falcóg mhór’, meaning ‘big seabird/auk’.
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