Cepphus grille Linnaeus, 1758, Baltic Sea. Five subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Tystie; French: Guillemot а miroir; German: Gryllteiste; Spanish: Arao Aliblanco.
11.8–13 in (30–33 cm); 1.6–3.9 oz (325–550 g). Overall black plumage except for white wing patches and underwing-coverts. Black bill is slender and pointed; mouth lining, legs, and feet are red.
, with breeding grounds from the Gulf of Maine intermittently spaced across the top of North America to Alaska and across the Arctic coast of Asia. Winters in the North Atlantic, venturing as far south as France, although they generally stay closer to shore than many auks.
Rocky shores, including islands, and adjoining seas.
Strongly territorial concerning nesting sites, to which they return year after year. Rarely nests in mixed colonies with other species. Engages in courtship displays involving bowing, whistling, etc. Uses a variety of calls, mostly high-pitched, while at the breeding grounds. Swimming in line, apparently for cooperative feeding, has been observed.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Primarily eats fish, but will take many kinds of invertebrates, including sponges and barnacles.
Normally broods in small groups, and sites may be either very close to the surf or 1.2–1.9 mi (2–3 km) off. Will use artificial cover, such as buildings, for nesting sites. Young leave the nest after 35–39 days. Clutch size is usually two eggs, deposited under rocks or in deep crevices in cliffs.
Population appears stable, but local threats arise from oil spills and commercial fishing.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Some subsistence hunting takes place, but greatly reduced from the level of a century ago.
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