|Conservation status||Serious population declines in recent years. Continues to lose nesting habitat with cutting of old-growth forest in northwest. Because of feeding near shore, especially vulnerable to coastal oil spills.|
|Family||Auks, Murres, Puffins|
|Habitat||Coastal waters, bays. Breeds inland on mountains near coast. Generally on ocean on calm protected waters near coast, as in bays, inlets, among islands; does most foraging in fairly shallow water. Sometimes found on lakes near coast. Nests on mountainsides on islands or well inland in mature forest.|
Forages while swimming underwater. Does most feeding in waters less than 100' deep, fairly close to shore.
One. Variable, yellowish to olive to blue-green, marked with brown, black, lavender. Incubation is by both sexes, probably about 4 weeks. Young: Both parents apparently feed young, making feeding visits at night. Young leaves nest at about 27-28 days, probably flies directly to sea or at least to lake near coast.
Both parents apparently feed young, making feeding visits at night. Young leaves nest at about 27-28 days, probably flies directly to sea or at least to lake near coast.
Fish, crustaceans. Diet varies with place and season, mostly small fish and crustaceans. Fish in diet include many sand lance, capelin, and herring, mostly small but up to 5" in length. Crustaceans include euphausiid shrimp, mysids, amphipods.
Very few nests have been found, so breeding behavior poorly known; details given here probably incomplete. Solitary nester, not in colonies. Nest site varies. In north, may be on ground on mountainside among sparse or dense growth. In south, may be on tree branch in dense forest, up to 150' above ground. Site may be close to coast or up to 15 miles inland. Nest is no more than shallow depression in lichens or moss on ground or tree branch; droppings of young bird build up into low rim.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Generally resident near breeding areas, but some move south in winter, rarely with small numbers "invading" coast of southern California.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsA plaintive keer, keer, keer.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Marbled Murrelet
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Climate threats facing the Marbled Murrelet
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