Sunday, 24 March 2013

Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle)

Latin Etymology: Cepphus ("pale waterbird") grylle (Gotland dialect name for Black Guillemot)
Adult Summer plumage Black Guillemot (subspecies C. g. arcticus) at St. Bee's Head, Cumbria - March 2013

Featured Subspecies: Cepphus grylle arcticus
Weight: 380-575g  /  Length: 32-38cm  /  Wingspan: 49-58cm
UK AMBER LIST  / IUCN Red List Least Concern

The Black Guillemot is the rarest and most limited in range or Britain's breeding auks, it is mostly found around the West Coast of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.  However, there are also small populations in England and Wales, in Wales on Anglesey, and as is the case of this bird, in England off St Bee's Head.  They are at close range, in breeding plumage, quite a striking bird - unlike a Common Guillemot they are black all over except for the white wing panel and bright red feet and gape.  They nest right at the bottom of cliffs and rocky surfaces, well below the other auks and can sometimes be seen nesting in harbour walls.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Cepphus
Subspecies: C. g. mandtii, C. g. grylle, C. g. arcticus, C. g. faroeensis, C. g. islandicus

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A localised breeding resident (19,000 pairs) and Wintering species (58-80,000 birds) 
 - Single bird seen at St. Bee's Head in April 2013, .

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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