Living Bird Magazine
Black GuillemotCepphus grylle
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Alcidae
A Black-And-White bird of the northern seas, the Black Guillemot breeds along the coasts of Canada and Greenland. Unlike other members of the puffin family, it prefers to forage in relatively shallow near-shore waters.More ID Info
- Arao Aliblanco (Spanish)
- Guillemot à miroir (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Black Guillemot carries fish crosswise in its bill. Some adults seem to show a preference for the direction in which the fish heads point; this "handedness" may be related to the selection of foraging sites.
- The Black Guillemot can stay underwater for up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
- The Black Guillemot shows a considerable amount of geographic variation in the amount of white in its winter plumage. Higher-latitude populations show more white background color than do southern populations, and can be nearly pure white with black wings.
- The Black Guillemot breeds colonially, with different densities at different sites. Colonies tend to be smaller in the southern portion of breeding range, perhaps because prey is more widely distributed. In the high Arctic, where food is more concentrated, some colonies have 2,000-10,000 pairs.
- The oldest Black Guillemot recorded was over 27 years old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Alaska.