Black Guillemot - Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - Black Guillemots. - These Striking black and white plumaged birds have red feet.

You can see them all year round. They eat fish and crustaceans.

In the summer these birds are truly black except for bright red highlights on the legs, feet and inside the mouth. In winter their underparts become white and the upperparts mottled grey.

Bluetit - Bird Sightings - Stornoway - Western Isles
Bird Overview - Black Guillemots
Latin name
Cepphus grylle


Similar Species
Little Auk
This bird is striking black and white plumage and bright red feet The guillemot is a strong diver, using its wings to fly through the water. The black plumage is a summer breeding colouring.

Their off-season and immature colouring is a light mottled grey. Adult birds have black bodies with a white wing patch, a thin dark bill and red legs and feet. They show white wing linings in flight. In winter, the upperparts are pale grey and the underparts are white.

The wings remain black with the large white patch on the inner wing.

32 cm (12") - 400g The Black Guillemot is smaller than the Guillemot and slightly larger than the Puffin.

The black guillemots breeding habitat is rocky shores, cliffs and islands

The black guillemots mainly eat fish and crustaceans, also some mollusks, insects and plant material. They dive for food from the surface, swimming underwater.

It is mainly a bottom-feeder which is why it is normally found close to shore and frequently around harbours in the Western Isles. It feeds on fish and shellfish

This bird has a high pitched call 'ssie'
They usually lay their eggs in rocky sites near water. These birds breed May - July and have 1-2 eggs, incubation is 24 - 28 days and the young fledge at 34 - 40 days. The black guillemots nest in colonies.

Misc. Info
The guillemots like as well as fish,crabs, shrimps, molluscs, marine worms etc - to get these it favours a methodical search of the sea bed in shallow water. it goes down only to 26ft at most and often comes up a long way from where it dived.

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