Arctic species: Black Guillemot

Another member of the auk-family is the Black Guillemot. This bird is completely black, with only white patches on the wings (and white underwings) and with bright red feet and inner beak.

Black Guillemot - Zwarte Zeekoet - Cepphus grylle
Black Guillemot

Black Guillemots feed on small fish and marine invertebrates which they catch while diving. It’s interesting to see that Black Guillemots often feed a lot closer to shore compared to Thick-billed Murres. Black Guillemots can often be found in the harbours of Longyearbyen or Ny Ålesund or close to the shoreline. This makes them a nice photo model.

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A Black Guillemot in a flock of Little Auks

Black Guillemots also breed on cliffs, but not in densely packed colonies. Typically just a few breeding pairs together, often at the edge of Thick-billed Murre colonies.

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Black Guillemots near their colony

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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