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Marbled Murrelet

Brachyramphus marmoratus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: ALCIDAE

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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Appearance

Ducklike
Ducklike
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.

Range Map Help

Marbled Murrelet Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult breeding

    Marbled Murrelet

    Adult breeding
    • © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Seward, Alaska, July 2000
  • Adult nonbreeding

    Marbled Murrelet

    Adult nonbreeding
    • © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Monterey Bay, California, August 2000

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.