Black Guillemot

Cepphus grylle




Auks, Murres and Puffins (Alcidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to blue-green with dark markings.

Number of Eggs:

1 - 2

Incubation Days:

23 - 39

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Under rocks either on a bare surface or on loose pebbles.

Nest Material:

Debris, small stones.


Most do not migrate



Black Guillemot: Medium-sized seabird, all black with large white wing patch, bright red feet, and dark, pointed bill. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has black-and-white mottled upperparts and white underparts. Juvenile resembles winter adult but has darker head, mottled partial collar, and barred wing patches.

Range and Habitat

Black Guillemot: Breeds from Arctic Alaska and Canada south along Atlantic coast to Maine, along the Hudson Bay, and coastal Greenland. Spends winters south to the Bering Sea and Long Island (rarely). It also winters in northern Europe, Scandinavia, and Alaska. Preferred habitats include rocky coasts.

Breeding and Nesting

Black Guillemot: One to two white eggs, sometimes tinted blue-green, with black, brown, and gray markings, are laid in a nest made of debris and small stones, and built under a rock either on a bare surface or on loose pebbles. Incubation ranges from 23 to 39 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Black Guillemot: Eats polychaetes, mollusks, jellyfish, crustaceans, sponges, crabs, barnacles, and fish; forages by diving from the surface.


Black Guillemot: Call is a weak, high-pitched whistle of "peeee."

Similar Species

Black Guillemot: Pigeon Guillemot has dark wing linings and axillaries, and black bar on white shoulder patch.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Similar to the upper part of the human neck, located at the back of the crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X