Pigeon Guillemot Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A medium-sized seabird with a small head and medium-length, sharply pointed bill. The neck and tail are fairly short; the wings are short and narrow (helps with “flying” underwater).

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Pied-billed Grebe, smaller than a Common Murre.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 11.8-13.8 in (30-35 cm)
      • Weight: 15.9-19.4 oz (450-550 g)
      • Wingspan: 21.6-23.2 in (55-59 cm)

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize five subspecies that differ mostly in size: eureka in Oregon and California; adianta from Washington to the central Aleutians; kaiurka in the west-central Aleutians and the Commander Islands; columba from the Bering Strait to the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. The subspecies of Pigeon Guillemot that inhabits the Kuril Islands of Japan, snowi, has little to no white in the upperwing, unlike other subspecies.

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