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

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

Distribution

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.

Habitats

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

Classification

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

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.