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Bass Rock - Slightly weird Guillemots? (1 Viewer)


New member
UK - Bass Rock - Slightly weird Guillemots?

Hi All,

Long time lurker, but I think this is my first post.

I was fortunate enough to be on a landing trip to the Bass Rock at the weekend organised by the Scottish Seabird Centre (great trip - definitely recommend it).

As well as the numerous (aka thousands of) gannets, there were plenty of other seabirds, including a colony of guillemots. A couple of which slightly threw me though.

Firstly, there's one with yellow beak and feet - which I thought would be a juvenile - but not according to my bird books. Also, there's a character with white patches round his / her very beady eyes.

Presumably these are just variations on the usual guillemot - but if someone could confirm I'd appreciate it!




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Well-known member
that white-eyed one might be a bridled on which you can't actually see the bridle, but it still looks pretty weird. And don't even get me started on that yellow-beaked one.

I can make a fiar stab at mister bright eyes but I am afraid the best I can say about yellowy is that he is a freak of nature, or has run into some hgihly improbable circumstances involving chemicals, dyes, paints etc.!!


homo sarkensis
Aye.. it's a weird guillemot!

A genetic abnormality affecting the colouration!.. Darwinism in action!... If it works, it's evolution.. if it doesn't.. its a blip!
The bird with the white eyes looks like a Bridled form, which get commoner the further north you go. The yellow beaked bird could be a aberrant form, like we get leuistic of albino birds.

Stephen Dunstan

Registered User
There was an article in Birding World a while back about a Guillemot with a yellow bill. Not BW's finest hour I have to say, but interesting to see for yourself in the field obviously.



Bah humbug
That's one smart bird. If it's for real, which for once I am not really doubting ;)

Yellow feet and an interesting upper plumage too.

phil baber

artist for birds
Amazing bird! Leucism seems to be the cause. Affecting bare part pigments also.

Bridled face on also for me!

Welcome to BF LTT!

And what a fantastic way to start!!!!


New member
Thanks to all for the replies (and for the nice welcome!) - I've had another look through the 1000+ pictures from that trip (how many close up pictures of a gannet do you really need?) and dug out another one of this pair.

Bit of a worse view of the yellow one (obviously feeling self conscious in this shot from the other guillemots staring at him) - but it gives a better view of the bridle on the other one.

Have googled that after it was suggested - interesting how it is a reflection of how northerly a bird is. Wonder why that started appearing.

Cheers again! Very interesting.


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ta brandreth

Well-known member
Top dollar - i'd have strung a Penguin on that yellow one!!

Incidentally,won't it be Xanthistic rather than Leucistic if showing yellow?


Bah humbug
Top dollar - i'd have strung a Penguin on that yellow one!!

Incidentally,won't it be Xanthistic rather than Leucistic if showing yellow?

I was thinking leucistic was wrong too, but wouldn't xanthistic have yellow plumage tones too?

Just some kind of genetic throwback/mutation, or does this have a name??
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