Guillemot Uria aalge   [Pontoppidan, 1763]

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Order: Charadriiformes Family: Alcidae
BTO Codes: GU, GUILL EURING No: 6340
Number in Britain: 880 thousand Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Winter Visitor
Subspecies: aalge (RBW), albionis (RBW) recorded in Britain (of 5 subsp. in the world)
Length: 40 cm Wingspan: 67 cm Weight: M/F: 690 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: ouriaa waterbird mentioned by Athenaeus and Danish: aalge=auk (from ON alka)
World Distribution: n&w Europe, n Asia, North America
Habitat: Coastal cliffs, otherwise pelagic
Diet: Mostly fish, usually taken from depths up to 60m
TitBit: The Guillemot has perhaps the smallest nesting territory any British bird, extending a beak length round its nest (about 5cm) and its egg is so shaped as to roll in circles, rather than off the narrow cliff edge on which it is laid.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: JNCC Seabird Monitoring Programme
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 880 thousand Pairs in
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from
    Latest Survey: Mitchell, P.I. et al. (2004) Seabird populations of Britain and Ireland Poyser, London
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Localised Breeding Population, Important Breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: aalge AMBER (Rare or Localised), albionis AMBER (Rare or Localised)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 2 to 2.7 million pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(I*), Bern(III)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Summary text from Seabird 2000 (warning: link to large pdf)

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 82 x 50 mm Egg Weight: 108.0 g (of which 11 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 2
Clutch Size: 1 eggs
Incubation: 28- 37 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 18 - 25days as: Altricial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.946       
Juvenile Survival: 0.560 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 5 years Typical Lifespan: 23 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 32 years 2 months 26 days (set in 2011)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: Special
Wing Length Adult: 203.3 ± 7.2 Range 194 - 211 mm, N =691
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: 890.9 ± 73.79 Range 770.0 - 1010 g , N =994
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Common Guillemot, Common Murre
Gaelic: Eun-dubh-an-sgadain Welsh: Gwylog
Danish: Lomvie Dutch: Zeekoet
Finnish: Etelänkiisla French: Guillemot de Troďl
German: Trottellumme Hungarian: Vékonycsoru lumma
Icelandic: Langvía Irish: Foracha
Italian: Uria Norwegian: Lomvi
Polish: Nurzyk zwyczajny Portuguese: Arau-comum
Spanish: Arao común Swedish: Sillgrissla
Local Names: Loom, Willock
Collective Noun:Loomery (breeding colony)

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Gaston, A. 1998 The auks Oxford University Press, Oxford [598.618 GAS]
   Nettleship, D. & Birkhead, T.R. 1985 The atlantic Alcidae Academic Press, London [598.618 NET]
   Birkhead, T. 1993 Great auk islands Poyser, London [998 BIR]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)