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Conservation status: Amber

Its striking black and white plumage and bright red feet make it easy to identify in summer. Unlike most other European auks the black guillemot is typically found in ones and twos, scattered around rocky islets. It is typical of the larger sea lochs of western Scotland, and the northern and western isles, but is also found in Ireland, the Isle of Man and in a handful of spots in England and Wales.



Latin name

Cepphus grylle


Auks (Alcidae)

Where to see them

Highest numbers are on the Shetland and Orkney islands, and down the west coast of Scotland. Small numbers can also be found on the Cumbrian coast at St Bees Head, along the N Ireland coast, and on the Isle of Man.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Fish and crustaceans.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
130-300,000 pairs19,000 pairs58-80,000 birds (incl. Ireland)-



In the UK
Scotland, Ireland and Isle of Man.
In Europe
Arctic islands, Iceland, W Siberia, Scandinavia and UK coasts.
Europe, Asia, N America.


Hugh Harrop, Xeno-canto

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