The Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a small seabird from the North Pacific. It is a member of the auk family. It nests in old-growth forests or on the ground at higher latitudes where trees cannot grow. Its habit of nesting in trees was suspected but not documented until a tree-climber found a chick in 1974 making it one of the last North American bird species to have its nest described. The Marbled Murrelet has experienced declines in their numbers since humans began logging their nest trees beginning in the latter half of the 19th century. The decline of the Marbled Murrelet and its association with old-growth forests have made it a flagship species in the forest preservation movement.
Marbled Murrelets <== click here to watch
The Marbled Murrelet is a small (25 cm), chunky auk with a slender black bill. It has pointed wings and plumage that varies by season. The non-breeding plumage is typically white underneath with a black crown, nape, wings and back. The bird closely resembles its closest relative, the Long-billed Murrelet. In fact, these species were considered conspecific up until 1998. They are virtually identical. In breeding plumage, both have a brown mottled body and face. The Long-billed has a pale white throat, lacking in the Marbled. In winter plumage, the Marbled Murrelet has a white neck collar, absent in Long-billed. The Marbled Murrelet is shorter billed and slightly smaller than the Long-billed Murrelet.