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Marbled Murrelet


IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered

A chunky Pacific seabird, the Marbled Murrelet is unique among alcids (puffin relatives) in nesting high up in large trees in coastal forests. Little-known until the past few decades, it now is thought to be seriously threatened by logging.

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Typical Voice

Adult Description

Small plump waterbird. Short, pointed bill. Short, pointed tail. Breeding adult sooty brown on upperparts, mottled brown on underparts. Nonbreeding adult with blackish upperparts, white underparts. White extends up sides of head, almost all the way around the nape.

Immature Description

Similar to non-breeding adult, but underparts lightly speckled, not clean white.

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Marbled Murrelet Range Map
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Similar Species

  • Kittlitz's Murrelet very similar, but has a shorter bill, is paler and buffier in breeding plumage, and has a white face in nonbreeding plumage.
  • Long-billed Murrelet, once considered the same species, is slightly larger with a longer bill, has plainer breeding plumage with no buffy or rusty feather edges, and in nonbreeding plumage is less extensive white around the face and nape, with white eye-arcs.