Thick-billed Murre Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A large seabird with an upright penguinlike posture on land (or ice). It has a heavy body, a long neck, a streamlined head, and a thick, pointed bill. The wings are long and narrow to help with "flying" underwater.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than a Razorbill, smaller than a Common Loon.

    Relative Sizecrow sizedcrow-sized
    • Both Sexes

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize two subspecies: the smaller lomvia, found from eastern Canada to western Russia, and the larger arra from eastern Russia east to western Canada. The lomvia subspecies has brownish tones on the head (often not visible in the field), while most arra have fully black heads and are sometimes called Pallas’s Murre or Pallas’s Guillemot.

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