Norfolk Museums Collections

Taxidermy mount) (bird)

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The Great Auk (Alca impennis) was the boreal equivalent of the penguins of the southern hemisphere, converging in shape and colour on account of their similar lifestyle. It was the largest of the auks and was so specialised in diving for fish that it lost the power of flight. It was therefore easily exploited for food, eggs and feathers. It was eventually driven to extinction sometime after the last specimen was collected in 1844. This specimen is a rare survival, there being only around 75 skins in museum collections and very few mounts. This one is still in good condition. It came into the possession of the Norwich Castle Museum in 1873 from the collection of Edward Lombe of Melton Hall, Great Melton in Norfolk, whose collection was considered one of the most complete of its day.

Artist / maker:



wood and plaster (base)

Accession number:

NWHCM : 1873.18.59

On display at:

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

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