Marbled Murrelet

Brachyramphus marmoratus

Marbled Murrelet

Appearance

Marbled murrelets are small seabirds that weighs about 200 grams. In the winter they are black with white underparts and in the summer they are brown with mottled white and brown on their throat, chest and abdomen.

Range & Habitat

They are found in Asia, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Scientists estimate that 40 to 50,000 of these birds live in the wild. Murrelets spend most of their lives in the ocean, but come inland to nest. In B.C., this animal is found in the Coast and Mountain Ecoprovince.

Diet & Behaviour

They spend most of their lives at sea eating Pacific sand lance, northern anchovy and Pacific herring.

Lifecycle & Threats

Murrelets can live as long as 25 years. To nest, they  fly up to 70 kilometres inland and lay one egg on a large moss-covered branch high up in a coastal temperate rainforest tree. The parents trade each day for egg tending duty, then they bring fish from the ocean for the newly hatched chick. Murrelets hunt and fly at night to avoid leading predators to the nest. Marbled murrelets’ main predators are ravens, crows, jays, owls and hawks but they are also threatened by logging in nesting habitats, oil spills, and entanglement in fishing nets.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.env.gov.bc.ca

Photo: Hobson

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