Family Auks (Alcidae)

Least Concern

Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba)


French: Guillemot colombin German: Taubenteiste Spanish: Arao colombino

Cepphus Columba


, 1811,

Kamchatka and Bering Strait


Race snowi, having very little or no white in wing (though this character variable), sometimes considered a separate species. Races adiantus and eureka sometimes included in nominate. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. snowi Stejneger, 1897 – Snow's Guillemot – Kuril Is (Paramushir to Iturup).
  • C. c. columba Pallas, 1811 – Pigeon Guillemot – Kamchatka N to Bering Strait and W Alaska.
  • C. c. kaiurka Portenko, 1937 – Commander Is to WC Aleutian Is.
  • C. c. adiantus Storer, 1950 – C Aleutian Is S to Washington.
  • C. c. eureka Storer, 1950 – Oregon and California.
  • Winters mostly at sea and along coasts, from S Bering Sea and S Alaska S to Japan and S California.

    Descriptive notes

    30–37 cm; 450–550 g; wingspan 58 cm. Bill long, straight and pointed, black with bright red mouth-lining; dark blackish brown plumage, with dark brown wedge in... read more


    Quite vocal during breeding period. Commonly heard is a high-pitched, overslurred, drawn-out reedy... read more


    In summer along rocky coastlines, breeding on sea cliffs and slopes close to regions of shallow... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide variety of small benthic fish and invertebrates (shrimp, crabs, sometimes polychaetes, gastropods, bivalve molluscs) throughout year;... read more


    Normally arrives early Mar in California, Apr in British Columbia, 40–50 days before first eggs; peak laying mid May to mid Jun in... read more


    Spring and autumn migrations poorly known, as are details of winter range. Generally winters at sea... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population size estimated at c. 235,000 birds (1993), with largest numbers on Farallon Is (California) and Chukotskiy Peninsula.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Nettleship, D.N., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).