Uria aalge (Common guillemot)

What do they look like?

A sleek auk species, a guillemot’s summer plumage is dark brown on top with a white underside. A small number of birds (known as the ‘bridled’ form), display a delicate white line around their eye, which continues backwards and down towards the neck. In winter, their colouring becomes messier and they display a white patch on their face.

When can I see them in Scotland?

All year. Breeding March to July.

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Guillemots are fairly wide-spread around the rocky coast of Scotland, breeding in vast seabird ‘cities’; densely-packed, noisy colonies usually found on cliffs or rocky islands. Guillemots feed on fish, crustaceans, and molluscs, diving from the surface of the water to catch their prey.

Conservation Status:

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to the Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Guillemots are currently an ‘Amber’ listed species.

67 cm
28 - 37 days
18 - 25 days
23 years
Average Lifespan

Guillemot looking into the camera against a blue background
© Susan Davies