BIRDS OF ICELAND : Uria aalge, common guillemot syn: common murre

Uria aalge; guillemots (syn: common murres) are common auks of Iceland as well as in Europe as a whole. On land they look slender with their relative long necks. However, in flight they retract their necks so they can easily be confused with other members of the auk group. Next to the typical form the "bridled" form can be found commonly on the cliffs of Iceland. The latter has a white circle around the eye with an extension backwards suggesting they are wearing spectacles. The common guillemot can easily be confused with the Brünnich's guillemot, in fact almost indistinguishable when observing them flying over sea (see details Brünnich's guillemot). The guillemots breed in dense colonies of steep cliffs. Only 1 egg is laid on bare edges. Guillemot breeding colonies can be found on sea cliffs along the Atlantic coast of France, the British isles, further north and west to Iceland, Norway, north east to the Kola peninsula of northern Russia. Outside the breeding season they can be found all over the eastern Atlantic: from north of Russia, Norway to Iceland and south to the Portuguese coast, and also on the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Among the common guillemots there are individuals with a white ring around the eyes and a white line protruding backwards: the "briddled" form

  Back to general list of all birds (entries start)

  Back to home page

A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise


breeding colony
reload first photo with briddled individual
(This photo has kindly been made available by Carine Nieman)

 breeding colony

 reload 1st photo of briddled form
Photo by Carine Nieman

 Press on photo for full size

Natural History of Iceland Site   Dutch