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Black Guillemot

Silhouette AuksAuks
Black GuillemotCepphus grylle
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Alcidae

Basic Description

A hardy bird with a rich black-and-white plumage and showstopping red legs, Black Guillemots are a highlight of the cold rocky coasts of the North Atlantic and Arctic. These duck-sized seabirds forage close to shore, flapping their small wings to power deep dives for fish and invertebrates near the sea bottom. In winter, most of the black body plumage is replaced by whitish feathering. Some individuals stay close to shore year-round, while others move out to sea or forage amid the pack ice.

More ID Info
image of range map for Black Guillemot
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

The most accessible places to find Black Guillemots are along the rocky coasts of Maine and the Canadian maritime provinces, particularly in spring and summer. These birds forage close to shore, so scan open water for a black bird with white wing patches sitting on the water or flying in a flurry of heavy wingbeats. A few also nest in Alaska, where patient observation sometimes produces one among the many Pigeon Guillemots.

Other Names

  • Arao Aliblanco (Spanish)
  • Guillemot à miroir (French)
  • Cool Facts