Common Guillemot or Thin-billed Murre

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Common Name: Common Guillemot or Thin-billed Murre
Scientific Name: Uria aalge

Size: 15-18 inches (38–46 cm)

Habitat: Northern Hemisphere; It has a circumpolar distribution, occurring in low-Arctic and boreal waters in the North-Atlantic and North Pacific. It spends most of its time at sea, only coming to land to breed on rocky cliff shores or islands.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 18,000,000 mature individuals. Numerous, but vulnerable to oil spills and gill-netting. Pacific populations have declined and partially recovered, while Atlantic populations appear to be increasing.

Diet: Small Fish; primarily polar cod, capelin, sand lances, sprats, sandeels, Atlantic cod and Atlantic herring.

Nesting: Common Guillemots breed in colonies at high densities, nesting pairs may be in bodily contact with their neighbors. They make no nest, their single egg is incubated on bare rock. Eggs hatch after ~30 days incubation. The chick is born downy, and can regulate its body temperature after 10 days. They leave the nest site in around 20 days accompanied by the male parent. Chicks cannot fly when they leave the nest but are capable of diving as soon as they hit the water. The female stays at the nest site about 14 days after the chick has left.

Cool Facts: The Common Guillemot is a large auk. It is also known as the Thin-billed Murre in North America. Common Guillemots have fast direct flight but are not very agile. They are more maneuverable underwater, typically diving to depths of 30–60 m.

The egg of a Guillemote is so pointed at one end that when placed on a flat surface and pushed, it rolls around in a circle. Such a shape may help keep the egg from rolling off of its nesting shelf.

Found in Songbird ReMix Seabirds 1

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