The Guillemot is penguin-like in appearance; slim, pointed bill, dark brown head and upperparts, white underparts.

Guillemots and Humans

Within the British Isles, the guillemot has decreased in numbers over the past centuries, especially in the south of England. The original cause may have been the warming of the sea that reduced the fish populations so affecting the birds' food, but over the past 30 - 40 years oil pollution has had a serious effect.

The auks suffer badly from oil because their reaction is to dive, so becoming even more polluted, whereas other seabirds such as gulls take off and so escape.

More recently, guillemots have suffered from overfishing of sand eels and sprats by humans. Conservationists would like to see this controlled because it is believed to be causing hundreds of birds to starve.

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