Ancient Murrelet

Synthliboramphus antiquus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Auks, Murres and Puffins (Alcidae)

Code 4

ANMU

Code 6

SYNANT

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Ancient Murrelet is a bird species which is native to numerous countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Canada, China, Korea, Russia, United States, Taiwan and Mexico. There have been reportings of this bird in the United Kingdom as well. The range of the Ancient Murrelet can reach up to 1 million square kilometers. The current global population of the Ancient Murrelet is thought to be around 1 million. It is not believed that there is any reason for immediate concern for this bird's population. It currently has an evaluation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Ancient Murrelet: Small, pelagic seabird with black head and dark gray back and wings. White underparts extend up onto the face as a cheek patch. Bill is short and yellow with a blackish tip. An open ocean species vaguely resembling a small penguin that can fly. Swift, direct, and low flight.

 

Range and Habitat

Ancient Murrelet: Breeds on offshore islets of north Pacific and mainland shores south to central British Columbia. Spends winters south to southern California; also winters in Asia. All known colonies are on forested islands where the major trees are Sitka spruce, western hemlock and western red cedar.

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Ancient Murrelet SONGS AND CALLS

Ancient Murrelet A1

Shrill whistled "chirrup" notes from a small group of birds.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"chirrup"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • It is the only member of the auk family to raise its young entirely at sea. Parents call to the young from out at sea, and the chicks swim towards the adults who keep moving further out throughout the night. Groups have been found 30 miles from the colony within 18 hours of departure.
  • The Ancient Murrelet is nocturnal on the breeding grounds, presumably to reduce predation, and for the same reason the young are never fed at the nest, being taken to sea a couple of days after hatching.
  • The German ornithologist who first described this bird thought its white plumes similar to an old man's white locks; hence its Latin name antiquus, from which its English name is derived.
  • A group of auks has many collective nouns, including a "colony", "loomery", and "raft" of auks.

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

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

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

FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
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.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X