Dense breeding colonies of Common Murres often reach tens of thousands of individuals, making this one of the more abundant seabirds along the rocky coastlines of eastern and western North America. Fully-grown, murres are larger than murrelets and auklets with a long chisel-shaped bill. Recently-fledged young are about half the size of an adult with a much smaller bill, which can cause them to be mistakenly identified as a smaller alcid species. Breeding adults are cleanly delineated dark chocolate-brown and white below, with dark wings, head and throat, and white underparts. At a distance or under overcast skies the upperparts look black, but in good light or at close range they are brown above. In winter, the throat and cheeks are white, leaving a dark stripe tapering off behind the eye. Juveniles, which are almost always seen in the company of an adult, look like a minature version of a winter adult with more gray in the face. Thick-billed Murre, in Alaska and Canada, has more jet-black plumage, shorter bill, and a white line along the gape.
Length: 45 (cm) Wingspan: 66 (cm)
High-pitched growl near nest site; silent at sea. Juvenile's piercing begging whistle is often heard after young have gone to sea.
Open ocean, coastal areas, and sea cliffs.
Nests colonially, laying eggs on a bare rocky ledge. Eggs speckled with a wide variety of colors and patterns. Murres fly in loose lines strung out over water's surface, often with other alcids. Young are highly dependent for many weeks after fledgling. They remain in close proximity to adults into the fall months and their whistled begging calls are incessant.
Dives and swims to catch fish.
Strictly speaking, Common Murres are not black and white; they are a deep, cold chocolate-brown above. That the Thick-billed Murre IS a blacker bird, mentioned above, is a helpful field point.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
Expanded Life History
|Feed Ecology And Diet||Contribute Content|
Nest at Cape Lookout Oregon was described as holding a single egg placed on bare rock ledge on a sea cliff (Manassa Schrock 1853).by Dave Irons on August 18, 2012 at 06:51 pm
|Migration Status||Contribute Content|
|Conservation Status||Contribute Content|
|Local Sites to Spot||Contribute Content|
|Abundance Status||Contribute Content|
|Adult Male Description||Contribute Content|
|Adult Female Description||Contribute Content|
|ITIS Taxonomic Number||Contribute Content|
|Reproductive Characteristics||Contribute Content|
|Relationship to Humans||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Size & Shape||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Color & Pattern||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Habitat||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Behavior||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Wingspan||Contribute Content|
|ID Tips - Weight||Contribute Content|
|Cool Facts||Contribute Content|
|Local Knowledge||Contribute Content|
Post a Question
|05/31/14||Julia Richert, OR||20|
|08/02/14||Dave Irons, OR||75|
|08/02/14||Dave Irons, OR||250|
|09/28/13||Dave Irons, OR||7|
|08/11/13||Dave Irons, OR||10|
|08/10/13||Dave Irons, OR||18|
|08/05/12||Dave Irons, OR||20|
|07/15/12||Dave Irons, OR||100|
|07/15/12||Dave Irons, OR||1|
|07/10/12||dawn villaescusa, OR||#|
|05/12/12||dawn villaescusa, OR||5|
|Activity||Date & Time|
|David Fix added a note to Common Murre Notes||7/04/2011 at 5:09PM|