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Cepphus columba

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Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Aves
Order Ciconiiformes
Family Laridae
Genus Cepphus
Species columba (Pallas, 1769)
COMMON NAME: Pigeon Guillemot
Pigeon Guillemot Guillemot feeding flock of guillemots
These videos give images of the guillemots on land at Race Rocks. The Guillemtos with a blenny waits to be sure of no predators before feeding young. See below for mating slideshow
pguil pguil pguil
The cautious behavior of guillemots waiting to feed their young The fish are Blennys or Penpoint Gunnels. . These fish are caught straight out in the channel, north of the docks.
Pigeon Guillemot
Guillemots in water off Great Race Island.
(56 K version)
A panorama from the West side of Great Race Rocks. The "running-on-water" start when they are taking off. The vivid red feet were photographed on camera 5
(PB photo)
white head winter2 winter winter plumage
Winter plumage evident in the these photos.taken on cam5. February, 2006(PB) Small bits of white on several birds.(PB) (remote cam5 photo by PB) Four winter plumage Guillemots just out in front of the docks. Feb, 2006 (PB)
Pigeon Guillemots on Ryans Flickr site
Ryan has done some amazing telephoto shots of Pigeon Guillemots starting in February of 2009. They are included in a set here on his Flickr site.
Description: This guillemot has an average size of 12-14''. Its plummage is black with large white wing patches interrupted by black stripes. It is interesting to note that in winter, its head and upper parts lighten slightly, however in all seasons feet and bill lining are brilliant red.

Habitat: This species resides in rocky coastal areas, with shallow inshore waters as its feeding grounds. Nest cavities are found amongst holes and rock crevices on the West, North East and South sides of Great Race Rocks. Some habitat for nesting was created years ago when blasting for the helicopter pad produced rubble under which they could tunnel..

Range: North West Alaska along the Pacific Coast to Southern California.

How and what they eat: The Pigeon Guillemot feeds by diving and taking up small fish. Some examples are: Penpoint Gunnels or "Blenny", sand lance, smelt, and sculpins.

Predators: Seagulls are predators of pigeon guillemot eggs. At Race Rocks, the main threat is predation by Bald Eagles, Peregrine falcons and nest predation by River Otters.

Interesting facts about the Pigeon Guillemot:
- In the spring it can be heard making a high whistle.

Mating slide show photos by PB. taken on May 18, 2006

During mating couples will hiss at each other

The slide show below was made from pictures taken by Pam Birley in 2007

abandoned nest

1 or 2 greenish or whitish, dark-spotted eggs are laid in a crevice or burrow. This nest burrow had been abandoned,perhaps due to predation, at the end of the season eggs were still present unhatched in the burrow. The light keeper's assistant is shown here. (1984)

References: The Audubon Society Field Guide to North America Birds (Western Region) (pg. 80 and 390)


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The Race Rocks Taxonomy
This file is provided as part of a collaborative effort by the students of Lester B. Pearson College Dec. 2001 Anthony Woodside, PCYear 27
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Garry Fletcher