Alaska Species Explorer


Marbled Murrelet

Common Name: Marbled Murrelet
Scientific Name: Brachyramphus marmoratus

Aleutian Islands in Alaska, south to central California. Spring and summer records also exist in Alaska for Bristol Bay, the northern Bering Sea, and St. Lawrence Island. The winter range is not well documented, but known winter concentrations occur in Southeast Alaska, the Kodiak Archipelago, Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and some areas of the Gulf of Alaska.

Conservation Status:

A dramatic decline in the population caused concern throughout its range and the Washington-Oregon-California population was federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1992. The Canadian population in British Columbia was assigned Threatened status in 1990. In Alaska, the Marbled Murrelet is considered a Bird of Conservation Concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Average Weight: 258-357 grams
Plumage Description:

In its breeding plumage, the top of the head, back and wings are dark brown, while the throat, chest and abdomen are brown flecked with white and cinnamon, giving a “marbled” appearance. Males and females have similar coloring. The winter plumage is blackish brown above with largely white shoulders (scapulars) and white under parts.

Diet in the Wild: Fish and aquatic invertebrates
Number of Eggs Per Clutch: 1 egg
Incubation Period: 28-30 days

Breeds in coniferous forests near coasts, nesting on large horizontal branches high up in trees. They spend winters at sea.

Threats in the Wild: Habitat loss from logging, fishing nets, oil spills, and reduced forage fish.
Did you know?:
  • Unlike most seabirds, they do not nest in colonies
  • The Marbled Murrelet usually nests in trees greater than 200 years in age.
  • The first verified nest discovery was in a tree, in 1974.