Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba)

Taxonomy

Five subspecies recognized:
C. c. columba
C. c. snowi
C. c. kiaurka
C. c. adianta
C. c. eureka

Also known as Sea Pigeon. Closely related to Black Guillemot which occurs in a similar arch across the North Atlantic.


Immature Pigeon Guillemot taking flight. Bodega Bay, California in late August 1999. Photograph copyright of Angus Wilson©.
 

Identification

Similar to Black Guillemot. Adults show an obvious oval white wing patch across the upperwing coverts. In Pigeon Guillemot this patch is broken by a black bar that extends across the lower third. Alternate plumaged adults are black with bright red legs and feet. In non-breeding plumage, most of the black body feathers are replaced with white.

The white wing patch is much reduced in the Kuirl Island subspecies (C. c. snowi) and might be mistaken for Spectacled Guillemot which also occurs in the Kurils. The latter has a broad white patch surrounding the eye and a heavier bill  which has white feathering at the base.


Immature Pigeon Guillemot taking flight. Bodega Bay, California in late August 1999. Photograph copyright of Angus Wilson©.
 

Where and When

Restricted to the North Pacific, range forming an arch from the Kuril Islands, Kamchatka, Aleutians, Bering Sea, coastal Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. Non-breeding birds disperse south into Japanese waters and to southern California. Has occured as a vagrant to Norway.
 

Literature



Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Angus Wilson
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