Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Alcidae

Scientific Name: Alle alle
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Little Auk, Dovekie
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R.
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Little Auk breeds on islands of the high Arctic, being found on islands in the Bering Sea, from east Baffin Island (Canada), through Greenland (to Denmark), Iceland to Spitsbergen, Bear Island and the Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway), Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land, Russia. It is migratory, expanding its range in winter to include the North Atlantic Ocean as far south as the United Kingdom and the north-east USA1.
Countries occurrence:
Bahamas; Belgium; Bermuda; Canada; Cuba; Denmark; Faroe Islands; France; Germany; Greenland; Iceland; Ireland; Netherlands; Norway; Portugal; Russian Federation; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Kingdom; United States
Austria; Czech Republic; Finland; Gibraltar; Italy; Latvia; Malta; Poland; Ukraine
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 376000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.16,000,000-36,000,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996), while the population in Russia has been estimated at < c.100 breeding pairs and < c.50 individuals on migration (Brazil 2009).

Trend Justification:  The population trend is decreasing in North America (based on BBS/CBC data: Butcher and Niven 2007).
For further information about this species, see 22694837_alle_alle.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species feeds mainly on small invertebrates such as amphipods and euphausiids and on fish larvae. The precise timing of its spring arrival at breeding colonies is variable depending on locality, from late February on Franz Josef Land to early May in north-west Greenland. Immense colonies are formed on sea coasts, usually nesting in crevices in rock scree of maritime slopes and on coastal cliffs. Colonies are abandoned in August with individuals seeking more southerly waters (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems: Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 15
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Alle alle. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22694837A38883445. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided