Uria aalge - Common murre:

Click Photo for full-page view Click Photo for full-page view Click image for full page view with caption Click image for full page view with caption

Summary Information
Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Laridae / Uria / Species

This section is currently predominantly used in Wildpro to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. Although it identifies that taxonomic interrelationships of species (see "header") it does not currently contain detailed information on the bird species itself. As Wildpro is developed, we will gradually convert these pages into full Species pages.

The taxonomy of birds is still under review and the A World Checklist of Birds by Burt L. Monroe, Jr and Charles G. Sibley (B89) has been chosen as the primary reference. The taxonomic structure will be amended when new editions or complete references are identified by the scientific world as the recognized primary references for taxonomy.

Alternative Names
  • Guillemot (B164, B163)
  • Common guillemot
Distribution Northern palearctic, western, eastern North America (B89)
Habitat Breeding - "Rocky coasts; on cliffs or on islands among boulders" (B163); on narrow bare ledges of steep coastal cliffs. (B164)
Further Information Appearance:
  • Length: 38-46 cm, plus trailing feet about a further 4.0 cm. (B164)
  • Wingspan: 61-73 cm (B164)
  • Bill: Long, pointed dark grey. (B164)
  • Eyes: Black. (B164)
  • Feet and legs: Grey. (B164)
  • Plumage: Basically black above with white line over sides, and white below. Tail fairly short. (B164)
  • Adult in summer: 
    • Head and neck including throat dark greyish brown, but some individuals "bridled" with a narrow white eye ring and white streak back from the eye. Dorsal black except secondaries tipped with white giving white wing bar and in flight a white trailing edge. Ventral white, coming to an upwards point on the ventral side of the neck; flanks variably dark streaked, underwing coverts white, flight feathers dusky. (B17, B164)
  • Adult in winter:
    • Similar to summer but with throat white and on the sides of the head variable amount of white. (B164)
  • Juvenile first winter: Similar to adult. (B164)
  • Juvenile first summer: Similar to adult but throat variable white, and flight feathers very brownish. (B164)


  • food - fish
  • feeding behaviour - surface dives


  • location and structure - cliff or ground nesting; no nest
  • breeding structure - monogamous


  • markings - mainly patterned, sometimes unpatterned
  • number of eggs - 1
  • broods - 1 brood
  • incubation - by male and female; 28-37 days


  • development - semi precocial, stays in nest, fed by parents
  • parental caring for young - by male and female
  • fledging - "Young enter the sea at about 20 days, but probably cannot fly for several weeks afterwards. At sea, young are cared for by the male for several weeks." - (B163)

(B163, B164)

Organisations (UK Contacts):

Electronic Library (further reading):

General Legislation:

  • --

Individual techniques:

Return to Top of Page