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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Common Murre

Uria aalge ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: ALCIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

An abundant, penguin-like bird of the cooler northern oceans, the Common Murre nests along rocky cliffs and spends its winter at sea.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
15–16.9 in
38–43 cm
Wingspan
25.2–28 in
64–71 cm
Weight
28.2–39.7 oz
800–1125 g
Other Names
  • Atlantic Murre, Guillemot (British)
  • Guillemot marmette (French)
  • Arao común (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • In the Atlantic, some populations include "bridled" or "ringed" individuals, which have a white eye-ring and a white line extending backward from the eyes. Bridled birds are more common farther north.
  • The high degree of variation in color and markings of Common Murre eggs may allow parent murres to recognize their own egg when they return to the colony from time at sea.
  • The egg of a Common Murre is so pointed at one end that when placed on a flat surface and pushed, it rolls around in a circle. Such a shape may help keep the egg from rolling off of its nesting shelf.

Habitat


Ocean

Food


Fish

Fish, squid and other marine invertebrates.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Egg Description
Very pointed at one end. Color variable, ranging from white to tan without markings, to dark green or turquoise with extensive black spots and scrawls.
Condition at Hatching
Covered in down, able to stand within one day.
Nest Description

Shallow depression in rocky ledge on steep cliff. Nests in colonies.

Nest Placement

Cliff

Behavior


Surface Dive

Dives underwater to capture prey, using its wings to swim.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Numerous, but vulnerable to oil spills and gill-netting. Pacific populations have declined and partially recovered, while Atlantic populations appear to be increasing.

Credits

  • Ainley, D. G., D. N. Nettleship, H. R. Carter, and A. E. Storey. 2002. Common Murre (Uria aalge). In The Birds of North America, No. 666 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America,Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Common Murre Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings