Common Murre

Uria aalge

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Auks, Murres and Puffins (Alcidae)

Code 4

COMU

Code 6

URIAAL

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Murre is distributed throughout the low Arctic and boreal waters in both the northern Pacific and northern Atlantic oceans. In North America, this species may also be called the “Thin-billed Murre”. These birds only stay on land to breed, which typically takes place on rocky cliffs and islands. They breed in colonies, and do not build a nest for the young. During the winter, northern populations migrate to more temperate climates. They dive underwater in order to catch worms, squid and crustaceans, and have been known to swim distances of 160 feet. The conservation rating for the Common Murre is Least Concern.

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Murre: Medium seabird with brown-black upperparts, throat, white underparts, and long dark bill. Tail is short. Some Atlantic birds have a narrow white eye-ring and stripe extending past the eye. Can dive to depths of more than 240 feet. Feeds on fish and invertebrates. AKA Common Guillemot.

 

Range and Habitat

Common Murre: This species is pelagic, breeding along the Arctic and subarctic coasts of Alaska, northeastern Canada, and southwestern Greenland south to central California and also in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Spends winters south to southern California and Massachusetts; also occurs in Eurasia. Preferred habitats include rocky coasts.

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Common Murre SONGS AND CALLS

Common Murre J1

Calls from a colony.

Common Murre A1

"RAH-rah-rah-rah" calls given as birds flew in to join a group on a cliff.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"murrrrr", "arrrrrrrrrrrrhh"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Common murres can fly 200 kilometers from the nest to find food for their chicks, and may dive as deep as 100 meters for food.
  • Courtship displays including bowing, billing and preening. The male points its head vertically and makes croaking and growling noises to attract the females.
  • The eggs vary in color and pattern to help the parents recognize them, each egg is unique.
  • A group of murres are collectively known as a "bazaar" and a "fragrance" of murres.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
PelagicX
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X