The Black Guillemot is a small seabird belonging to the Auk family, Alcidae. It has a distinctive black plumage during the breeding season, with white wing patches and bright red feet. The non-breeding plumage is mostly grey, with white underparts and black and white wings. This bird measures around 13 inches in length and weighs approximately 0.5 pounds.
The Black Guillemot is easily distinguishable by its unique red feet, black bill, and distinctive white wing patches. During the breeding season, the bird’s plumage turns black, making it easier to spot against the rocky coastline. These birds have a short and chunky body with a rounded head and short tail. The wings are narrow and pointed, allowing for quick and agile flight over the water.
The Black Guillemot is a circumpolar species and can be found in coastal regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. They are non-migratory birds, with some populations staying in the same breeding territories year-round. However, some populations do move short distances during the winter months to find better foraging opportunities.
Breeding for Black Guillemots occurs during the summer months, with nesting taking place in crevices and rocky cliffs along the shoreline. The female lays a single egg, which is incubated by both parents for around 30 days. The chick is fed a diet of small fish and invertebrates, with both parents taking turns to hunt for food. After around 4-6 weeks, the chick will fledge and leave the nest to explore the surrounding waters.
Although not currently considered endangered, the Black Guillemot faces threats from human activity, such as oil spills and coastal development. Climate change is also impacting their breeding success, as warming temperatures can alter the timing of their food supply. Conservation efforts are in place to protect their breeding grounds and monitor their populations to ensure their survival in the wild.