First Canadian Breeding Record of the Dovekie (<i>Alle alle</i>)


  • Kerry J. Finley
  • C. Robert Evans



Animal distribution, Animal reproduction, Bird nesting, Dovekies, Baffin Island, Nunavut


The Dovekie (Alle alle) is the smallest and one of the most abundant alcids inhabiting the North Atlantic Ocean (Salomonsen, 1950; Brown et al., 1975; Roby et al., 1981). Until now there have been no documented breeding records of the Dovekie in the Canadian Arctic, though they are known to gather by the millions in northwest Baffin Bay during spring migration to breeding colonies in Northwest Greenland (Renaud et al., 1982). The Dovekie is well known to the Inuit of Baffin Island; it is called akpaliapik, in contradistinction to its larger relative, the akpa or Thick-billed Murre (uria lomvia). In August 1983, during a bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) study on the east coast of Baffin Island, Apak Qaqqasiq mentioned that Dovekies nested in at least two locations in Home Bay. With him and Josepi Tigullaraq, N.W.T. Wildlife Officer from Clyde, we visited one of these colonies by boat on 20 August. The colony was located on a small island (1 km long) called Abbajalik in Inuktitut (unnamed on maps), in northern Home Bay (69 02 N, 67 23 W) about 800 km south of the closest known Dovekie nesting locations in Northwest Greenland. ... The Dovekie colony appeared to be vacated and we were about to leave when Qaqqasiq detected a faint call from the moraine. After carefully moving a few boulders, we found two Dovekie eggs, and nearby an adult Dovekie. ...