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Pigeon Guillemot

Silhouette AuksAuks
Pigeon GuillemotCepphus columba
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Alcidae

Basic Description

The Pigeon Guillemot is an attractive auk that nests on rocky coastlines of the North Pacific. Its velvety, dark brown plumage is set off by a bright white patch in the upperwing and vivid scarlet feet. In winter, the black underparts are replaced with dingy white feathering. Unlike many other species of alcids (auks, murrelets, and puffins), which feed far out to sea, Pigeon Guillemots stay fairly close to shore where they forage along the seafloor for small fish, worms, and crustaceans.

More ID Info
image of range map for Pigeon Guillemot
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Pigeon Guillemots along Pacific shores from Alaska to California, particularly in the breeding season when the birds nest along cliffs and forage close to shore. Find a calm, rocky cove or wharf and scan the water (ideally with a spotting scope). Listen for the birds’ shrill whistles and watch for their high-contrast white wing patches and bright red feet trailing behind them as they fly. Pigeon Guillemots often occur in populated areas such as around Seattle’s ferry docks or along rocky parts of Monterey Bay, California.

Other Names

  • Arao Colombino (Spanish)
  • Guillemot colombin (French)
  • Cool Facts

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