This funky looking bird can be found in the north Pacific as well as along the coast of far east Russia, including Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands.
I had seen many of these crested auklets flying around, and some diving in the water in search of krill or other food, but hadn’t been able to really get up close to many of them until I made it to Yankicha Island in the Kurils.
There were many bird species here, but the crested auklets were in huge numbers here, thanks to it being a big nesting area. With thousands of them flying about, I spotted a few that were still hanging out on land as we toured the island by Zodiac.
This guy was nice enough to pose for the camera. If you’re a crested auklet, the size of your crest is a big deal, as in both male and female aucklets prefer mates with large crests!