Living Bird Magazine
Ancient MurreletSynthliboramphus antiquus
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Alcidae
Widespread throughout the north Pacific, the Ancient Murrelet nests colonially in burrows or rock crevices. It is the only seabird that raises its young entirely at sea.More ID Info
- Mérgulo Antiguo (Spanish)
- Guillemot à cou blanc (French)
- Cool Facts
- Within a few days of hatching, Ancient Murrelet chicks emerge from their burrows by night and follow their parents to sea. The parents fly to the water, and the chicks follow, finding their parents by their voices among throngs of other Ancient Murrelets.
- Ancient Murrelet parents do not feed their chicks until they have emerged from their burrows and reached the sea.
- Mated Ancient Murrelets alternate shifts in incubating eggs. The shifts are usually three days long, and may last as long as six days.
- The oldest Ancient Murrelet was at least 5 years old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in Alaska.