Sunday, 2 August 2009

Common Guillemot (Uria aalge)

OTHER NAMES: Guillemot, Common Murre
Latin Etymology: Uria (waterbird mentioned by Athenaeus) aalge (Danish name for auk)

 Adult Common Guillemot (subspecies U. a. albionis) in Farne Islands, Northumbria - July 2009

Featured Subspecies: Uria aalge albionis
Weight: 38-45g  /  Length: 38-45cm  /  Wingspan: 67cm
UK AMBER LIST  / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Guillemots are not precisely elusive in the broader sense, there are apparently 1.4 million pairs in the UK. On the flip side, they only come ashore to nest between March and July, and then only at cliff sites - primarily on the West and Northern coasts. This means, that although certainly numerous, if you don't happen to live anywhere near these places you have a window of oppertunity each year to do so. By the time I went to the Farnes and got first Guillemots for this blog, I only saw one or two over the entire trip. The Farne islands are almost certainly your best bet for photographing this species as with many sea birds it allows you to get right up close to them in a habitat where they are used to seeing people.

Further Information:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Uuria
Subspecies: U. a. aalge, U. a. albionis, U. a. hyperborea, U. a. inornata, U. a. californica

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Common Summer breeding species (950,000 pairs).
 - Seen at several locations including  Trevose HeadSt. Bee's Head and the Farne Islands.

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus,IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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