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

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Overview

Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Alcidae

Species: Uria aalge

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Population Trend: increasing

Distribution: In Europe it is found on the coasts of Scandinavia, the British Isles and Brittany and elsewhere in Iceland, Alaska, Newfoundland and one spot on the coast of Greenland. Breeds as far south as Portugal in the Atlantic and North Korea and San Francisco in the Pacific.

Description: Penguin-like in appearance; slim, pointed bill, dark brown head and upperparts, white underparts. Lower face is white in the winter. Some birds are 'bridled', having a white line behind the eye & a white eye-ring when in breeding plumage.

Habitat: Open sea, cliff ledges, offshore rock pillars.

Size: 42cm in height. Sexes are alike.

Standing upright on a rock ledge, with its white underparts showing and paddle-like feet sticking out in front, the guillemot is the nearest thing Britain has to a penguin! Another similarity is the way in which the breeding birds crowd together in huge colonies. It belongs to the auk family and is therefore closely related to the razorbill and puffin.

 

Read More: Breeding

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