The Great Auk is extinct. In 1844, the last known living pair and one egg were taken, in Iceland.
Large breeding colonies of this flightless, penguin-like sea bird once gathered on rocky offshore islands and coasts of the North Atlantic in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles and Scandinavia. The Great Auk wintered as far south as Florida and southern Spain.
Its extermination began with a slaughter for food and bait by commercial fishers, and continued for the bird's fat and feathers. The Great Auk is now represented only in natural history collections, by bones, skins and eggs.
Great Auks were about 78 cm (30 in.) long. They weighed about 5 kg (11 lb.).