Pigeon Guillemot
(Cepphus columba)


Picture of bird
© Ted Krug
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Pigeon Guillemots breed along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California. Despite being a common sight in inshore waters, they are difficult to census accurately so few reliable monitoring data are available. Results from the Christmas Bird Count suggest that the overwintering population is increasing continentally. Recent counts in southern British Columbia also suggest large increases in that region. The population has likely increased in Canada, but the reliability of this assessment is considered low. Pigeon Guillemots face threats related to oil pollution, predation, and fisheries bycatch, but the effects are difficult to assess given the uncertainty in the species’ population status. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Apparently secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate IncreaseLowAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada10,000 - 25,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

Pigeon Guillemot populations are at risk from chronic and accidental oil pollution; the Exxon Valdez spill, for example, is believed to have contributed to population declines in Alaska (Ewins 1993, Bixler 2010). Like many Pacific seabirds, Pigeon Guillemots are susceptible to predation when mammalian predators are introduced to island nesting sites. The species is also regularly entangled in gillnets used by inshore fisheries.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship