Ancient Murrelet

Synthliboramphus antiquus




Auks, Murres and Puffins (Alcidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Light to olive brown, sometimes speckled.

Number of Eggs:

1 - 2

Incubation Days:

33 - 36

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with dry grass, twigs, and leaves.





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

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Ancient Murrelet: One to two large, light to olive brown eggs, sometimes speckled with blue and brown, are laid in a nest made of dried grass in a burrow or fallen log from late April to mid-May. Incubation ranges from 33 to 36 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Ancient Murrelet: Diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, and mollusks; forages by diving from the surface.


Ancient Murrelet: Emits low, shrill whistling notes.

Similar Species

Ancient Murrelet: Marbled Murrelet has dark bill and white patch on flanks.


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

The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
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.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X