Black Guillemot

Black Guillemot

Scientific name: Cepphus grylle

Did you know: The Black Guillemot, with its vivid red feet and unique plumage, is not only a marvel to birdwatchers but also plays a crucial role in marine ecosystems!

What Do Black Guillemots Look Like? (how to identify them)

Black Guillemots are easily recognisable, especially in summer, with their stark black and white feathers and striking red feet. They typically appear in smaller groups or individually all over rocky islets.

Found predominantly in western Scotland’s sea lochs and the northern and western isles, these birds also reside in Ireland, the Isle of Man, and some locations in Wales and England.

Differences Between Male And Female Black Guillemots

There’s little to distinguish males from females in the field, as both sexes don similar black summer plumage with prominent white wing patches. Their bill is black, and their feet are a vivid coral-red.

What Do Black Guillemots Eat?

The diet of Black Guillemots primarily comprises fish and crustaceans. They dive towards the seafloor to forage, making their diet a key indicator of ocean health.

Where Do Black Guillemots Live? (inc. migration info)

Black Guillemots are native to the northern parts of the Atlantic and the eastern parts of North American coasts. While many are resident, those in the higher areas of the Arctic migrate southward in winter. 

They breed on rocky shores and cliffs and are often seen in their breeding habitats as single pairs or small groups.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Black Guillemots)

The Black Guillemot’s call, particularly noticeable during the breeding season, is a high-pitched whistle. Their vocalisations are an essential aspect of their social interactions, especially during mating.

Fun Black Guillemot Facts (kid friendly)

  • Their feet turn a bright red colour in summer.
  • They have a different appearance in summer (black with white wings) and winter (white and grey plumage).
  • Unlike other seabirds, they usually swim alone or in pairs.
  • These birds dive deep into the ocean to catch their food.
  • They make their nests on rocky cliffs near the ocean.
  • The white patches on their wings make them easy to spot when they fly.
  • They whistle loudly, especially during the breeding season.
  • They can live for over a decade in the wild.
  • While some stay in one place, others travel long distances during winter.

Facts About The Black Guillemot

Diet: Fish and crustaceans.
Bird Family: Auks
Length: 30-32cm
Wingspan: 52-58cm
Weight: 300-460g
Scientific Name: Cepphus grylle

The Black Guillemot Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Black Guillemot Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile