DOVEKIE(Alle alle)
DESCRIPTION: During the summer the Dovekie is black on top (including the neck and throat) with white under parts. The stout bill is black, as well as the legs and feet. Outside the breeding season the dovekie has a white throat and cheeks. Sexes are very similar. This bird measures around 20 cm (8 inches) long.
NAME: The English name ‘Dovekie’ comes from ‘Dove’, which means ‘to dive’, and ‘kie’ which means ‘little’. However the dovekie is not related to the dove family. The double Latin name means that there is only one species in the ‘Alle’ genus, and that name is Sami for the call of the Long-tailed Duck (although the dovekie is not related to that duck either). This bird is also called ‘Little Auk’.
HABITAT: Rocky shores and islands in the summer, open sea in the winter.
DIET: Small fish and crustaceans.
NESTING: Breeds in colonies on rocky shores, builds its nest in crevices or under a large rock. One single light blue egg is laid, incubated by both parents, who also both feed the chick. Main predators are large gulls and the arctic fox.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in the high Arctic where they can number in the millions. Winters on North Atlantic open waters.
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island. Sightings rare or occasional due to the species ‘irruptive’ behavior.
CONSERVATION: Vulnerable to oil spills. Susceptible to be carried away off course during major storms (Nor’easters), and end up inland on the east coasts of Canada and North America exhausted and starving. Population trends difficult to assess due to range remoteness.
NOTES: Dovekies are diving birds with short wings that find their prey near the surface.
The dovekie is a North Atlantic seabird of the alcidae family. They can easily swim underwater as if they would fly, but are clumsy when walking on land. This species looks like a penguin but is not related to it.
Dovekies are eaten by the Inuit in the winter, from a preparation called Kiviak.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Common Murre, Razorbill
REFERENCES: (Norwegian Polar Institute)
dovekie (.pdf document, Alaska Fish and Wildlife Service)

Dovekies in Svalbard - 2002 - Michael Haferkamp
Dovekies in Svalbard – 2002 – Michael Haferkamp
Dovekies in flight - Svalbard - Michael Haferkamp
Dovekies in flight – Svalbard – Michael Haferkamp