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Black-throated Guillemot

Black-throated Guillemot

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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[Ancient Murrelet.]

[Synthliboramphus antiquus.]


This species, which is said to occur on the north-west coast of America, has not been met with by me. The figures in the plate were taken from specimens in the Museum of the Zoological Society of London, by permission of the Council.

ALCA ANTIQUA, Gmel. Syst. Nat., vol. i. p. 551.

BLACK-THROATED GUILLEMOT, Uria antigua, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 100.

Adult, 10 1/2, wings, 5 9/12.

North-west coast of America. Abundant.


Bill shorter than the head, stout, straightish, compressed toward the end; upper mandible with the dorsal line declinate and convex, the sides sloping, the edges sharp and overlapping, the tip rather obtuse; lower mandible with the angle long and rather wide, the dorsal outline ascending, straight, the sides sloping outwards and flattened, the edges thin and direct, the tip acute, with a slight sinus behind.

Body full and compact; neck short and thick; head rather large, ovate. Feet short, stout, placed far behind; tibia bare for a short space; tarsus very short, compressed, covered anteriorly with oblique scutella, behind with angular scales; hind toe wanting; anterior toes scutellate, of moderate length, connected by emarginate webs, the inner toe much shorter than the outer, which is nearly as long as the middle. Claws rather small, moderately arched, compressed, rather acute.

Plumage dense, blended, glossy. Wings of moderate length, narrow, pointed; primaries tapering, the first longest, the rest rapidly graduated, secondaries rounded. Tail very short, rounded.

Bill and feet yellow, claws dusky. The head and upper part of the neck are black, excepting a band of white elongated linear feathers, beginning over the eye and extending down the hind part of the neck, and a broad band of white commencing behind the ear and curving forwards, to join the white which is the general colour of the lower parts, with the exception of the flanks, which are black. All the upper parts also are greyish-black.

Length to end of tail 10 1/2 inches; bill along the ridge (7 1/2)/12, along the edge of lower mandible 1 2/12; wing from flexure 5 9/12; tail 1 1/2; tarsus 1 1/4; middle toe 1 2/12, its claw 4/12.

Young fully fledged.

The young bird has the bill black, the feet dusky, the upper parts blackish-grey, each feather black in the centre, the lower greyish-yellow, transversely barred with dusky, the tail broadly tipped with white.

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