Marbled Murrelet Life History


Habitat OceansBreeds in coniferous forests near coasts, nesting on large horizontal branches high up in trees. Winters at sea.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Tree

Nesting Facts
Condition at Hatching:Covered in down, can walk, but stays in nest.
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Behavior Surface DiveDives underwater to capture prey, using its wings to swim.Back to top


Conservation DecliningThere is little information on Marbled Murrelet population trends, but they appear to be a species in decline. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental breeding population of 300,000-800,000 birds, rates the species a 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and lists it as a Species of High Concern. Populations of Marbled Murrelet in Washington, Oregon, and California, are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. The species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Logging and development of forested nesting habitat are considered the greatest threats to this species. Significant portions of nesting areas have already been lost. Oil spills and entanglement in gill-nets are also major risks.Back to top


Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Nelson, S. Kim. (1997). Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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