We studied molt and size variation in Whiskered Auklets collected at sea in August from the Aleutian Islands in 1992 and 1993. We evaluated size differences from external and skeletal measurements. Adults were molting extensively in August, indicating that molt began in July. Primaries 1-5 had been completely replaced, while primaries 6-8 were in various stages of replacement, and primaries 9 and 10 were old in most birds. We also found that juveniles were not molting. This pattern is similar to other species of small auklets where breeding and molt in adults overlap, but juveniles do not molt until the following summer. This suggests that Whiskered Auklets are subjected to similar ecological constraints as other auklets. We provide the first skeletal measurements of Whiskered Auklets and some new external measurements. Results of statistical analyses indicate that there is no sexual dimorphism in adults. A small sample of juveniles suggests that they are similar in size to adults.
Additional publication details
Variation in plumage, molt, and morphology of the Whiskered Auklet (Aethia pygmaea) in Alaska