The common guillemot is one of the most abundant seabirds in the temperate and colder parts of the northern hemisphere with very large populations in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans and the adjacent areas of the Arctic Ocean.
In the UK, the mainstay of the guillemot diet consists of sandeels, herring and sardines. Successful hunts have been noted at depths of around 100m, and individuals have been found foraging some 5km from the rest of the colony in search of food.
Common guillemots are pursuit divers that use their wings to propel themselves into the ocean. They may spot prey by dipping their head repeatedly into water before diving. In the non-breeding season, they are often found close to shore, at times far up inlets and sounds.
This species nests in densely packed colonies, with up to twenty pairs occupying one square metre at peak season. They will lay their eggs on bare rock ledges, under rocks, or on the ground. They first breed at four to six years old and average lifespan is about 20 years. Their courtship displays include bowing, billing and mutual preening. The male points its head vertically and makes croaking and growling noises to attract the females. The species is monogamous, but pairs may split if breeding is unsuccessful.
Pollution, lack of food, habitat loss and disturbance.
- Latin Name: Uria aalge
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
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