Great Auk - The Great Auk swam like a fish, walked like a penguin, and flew like a stone. But he adapted happily to ocean life, prospering from Iceland to Florida, while heading the menus of North Atlantic islanders for three hundred years. Then the professional hunters invaded his nurseries, butchering relentlessly for oil and feathers, encrusting Funk Island with discarded carcasses. The last of the Great Auks was clubbed to death in 1844, heading the obituary column of American birds.
Extinct: Great Auk: These auks were flightless penguins from the Atlantic. They were one of the largest auks standing about 30-34 inches high. They had white and glossy black feathers, and were once seen in huge numbers in the northern frigid areas. Records show that they were hunted to extinction in these places.
The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) was a large, flightless bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century. It was the only modern species in the genus Pinguinus, a group of birds that formerly included one other species of flightless giant auk from the Atlantic Ocean region. The Little Ice Age may have reduced the population of the Great Auk by exposing more of their breeding islands to predation by Polar Bears, but massive exploitation for their down drastically reduced the population.
On this day in 1844, the last Great Auk, a relative of puffins and razorbills, was killed on an island off the coast of Iceland. Humans hunted the Great Auk for over 100,000 years. With few natural predators, the Auk had no innate fear of people.