Thick-billed guillemot standing on ice

Thick-billed guillemot

Thick-billed guillemots are one of the most numerous birds of the Arctic coast, moving southwards in the winter where the waters remain ice-free. They breed in large, noisy colonies, with each female laying a single egg on a narrow cliff ledge. In pursuit of a meal, thick-billed guillemots perform short shallow dives, but they are more than capable of reaching depths of 100m or more to reach favoured fish and squid.

At a glance it is difficult to distinguish these guillemots from closely related common guillemots. Their bills, as you would expect, are thicker and shorter with a white gape and they can also be darker in colour. The thick-billed guillemot is also known as BrĂ¼nnich's guillemot after the Danish zoologist.

Scientific name: Uria lomvia

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • BrĂ¼nnich's guillemot,
  • Thick-billed murre

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The Thick-billed guillemot can be found in a number of locations including: Arctic, Asia, Europe, North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Thick-billed guillemot distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Shorebirds
  6. Auks
  7. Guillemots
  8. Thick-billed guillemot