Black Guillemot

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Black Guillemot
Image:Blackguillemot12.JPG
Black Guillemots in Oban harbour
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Subclass:Eutheria
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Alcidae
Genus:Cepphus
Species:grylle
Binomial name
Cepphus grylle
Linnaeus, 1758

The Black Guillemot or Tystie, Cepphus grylle, is a medium-sized alcid at 32-38 cm in length, and with a 49-58 cm wingspan.

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.

Their breeding habitat is rocky shores, cliffs and islands on northern Atlantic coasts in eastern North America as far south as Maine, and in western Europe as far south as Ireland. In the UK it is fairly common breeding bird in western and northern Scotland. In the rest of Great Britain they only breed at St. Bees Head in Cumbria, the Isle of Man and on east Anglesey in north Wales. Some birds breed in Alaska where their range overlaps with the Pigeon Guillemot. They usually lay their eggs in rocky sites near water.

These birds often overwinter, migrating to open waters if necessary, usually not travelling very far south.

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

The call in the breeding season is a high whistle. The red gape is also prominent then.fi:Riskilš

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