Fun Marbled Murrelet Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Nov 17, 2022 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
Marbled murrelet facts on the North American bird

The marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a species of aves belonging to the family alcidae and belonging to the order Charadriiformes. They usually prefer marine life, but their nests are found in old growth forests on top of tall old growth trees coated in moss and lichen in North America.

They can be seen flying deep underwater and also in the air. They can fly at a very fast speed with their short wings and rapid wingbeats.

The plumage of the marbled murrelet changes to brown during the winter season that is the mating season. During the non-breeding season, all the murrelets are black, white, and grey in color.

Their population is declining steadily and marbled murrelet populations have been designated as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to loss of their nesting habitat resulting from unabated logging in the forests.

Marbled murrelet endangered status has prompted action from concerned departments for restoration and prevention of marbled murrelet nesting sites. After reading the interesting facts on murrelet marbled bird, do check out other articles on hornbill facts and corncrake facts.

Marbled Murrelet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a marbled murrelet?

The marbled murrelet (order Charadriiformes, family Alcidae) is a seabird found on the coast of the Pacific ocean. They are avians and are carnivorous in nature.

What class of animal does a marbled murrelet belong to?

The marbled murrelet (marbled murrelet brachyramphus marmoratus) belongs to the class of aves, which means birds, but this little bird will be usually found near water source in an old growth forest and is an endangered seabird. They build their nests in the barks of trees in an old forest along the coast of an ocean or sea.

The different species of the marbled murrelet are Dovekie, Common Murre, Thick-Billed Murre, and Razorbill.

How many marbled murrelets are there in the world?

Marbled murrelets are birds found mostly in old growth forests near the Pacific Ocean. They are also listed as endangered as their population continues to decrease due to loss of habitat in the forests along the coastal regions.

A marbled murrelet nest is usually built on old growth trees, which can be a great threat to their numbers due to incessant tree logging.

Where does a marbled murrelet live?

The ocean, forests, inland freshwater lakes, inland saltwater lakes are where the marbled murrelet prefers to live. They can also be found in Washington, Southeast Alaska, the Northwest coastal waters of North America, and on the Pacific Northwest coast.

They spend most of their lives diving and swimming in the water, but the nesting sites are usually found in old-growth forest sites. They can travel up to 50 miles inland from the sea for building their nests.

What is a marbled murrelet's habitat?

The marbled murrelet is a North American bird found near the Pacific coast ranging from North America to Central California. The marbled murrelet habitat is present inland for nesting and away from the sea shore, in a mature, wet forest full of tall, old trees whose branches are covered with moss and lichen.

They mostly spend their life in the water and are solitary avians unless they want to breed. Calm, shallow, coastal waters are where the marbled murrelet nests are more likely to be found.

Who do marbled murrelets live with?

Marbled murrelets prefer living a sedentary lifestyle and only come together in flocks or pairs during the breeding season in March and April.

Their nests can be found in vicinity to other many other nests of other birds from the same species. They can fly underwater and use their wings as propellers.

They can fly in the air at a very high speed and could reach elevations of 1500 m. They also seem to migrate during winter, but most of time can be found on the coastal waters, diving or swimming.

How long does a marbled murrelet live?

The marbled murrelet shorebird belonging to the auk family can live to an average lifespan of 10 years. Murrelets often can die at an earlier age due to reasons like oil spills. collision with a boat, logging, accidental tangling in fishing nets, and being prey to their predators, like common ravens.

How do they reproduce?

The marbled murrelet is a relatively monogamous seabird that maintains a long-term bond with a single partner and mates with it during its entire lifetime. When they turn two to three years old, they develop sexual maturity.

The female marbled murrelet lays only one egg on top of a tree, which is old and covered with moss. The male and the female murrelets both incubate the egg, and after a period of one month, the chick is born.

Both the parents take turns from the ocean to the nest and bring food to the juvenile. After the chick is fed and is healthy enough, it flies to the ocean after four weeks.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of marbled murrelet is endangered globally. As per the US Fish and Wildlife Service they have been listed as threatened species.

The main reasons for the loss in their population along the pacific coast are marine pollution caused by oil spills near shore and industrial waste, climatic changes resulting in loss of habitat, clearing of old trees and canopies from federal lands, and accidental bycatch by fishermen. This has resulted in the consistent decline in murrelet populations.

Marbled Murrelet Fun Facts

What do marbled murrelets look like?

Marbled murrelets camouflage themselves in a brown plumage during the breeding season to resemble the tree barks where they lay their eggs in a nest. During the non-breeding season in winter, murrelets usually have a grey, black, and white upper body and a white underbelly.

The top portion of the head is dark grey in color, and they have a dark band around the shoulders which contrasts with the white-collar in flight. They have a slender bill and narrow pointed wings.

How cute are they?

This species is averagely cute, but the nestlings of the marbled murrelet are very adorable and also helpless. They can be easily hunted down by common predators, which usually are arboreal.

How do they communicate?

During the mating season, the marbled murrelet bird call becomes shrill to attract a mate. They make gull-like noises near the nesting sites to communicate with their chicks. Unlike other alcids, the Brachyramphus marmoratus isn't keen on interaction and is usually solitary after the mating season.

How big is a marbled murrelet?

The marbled murrelet is a plumpy sea-bird that looks like a robin. Their average length is 9-10 in, and the average weight is 0.4-0.6 lb. It is typically larger than a red-necked phalarope and smaller than the common murre. The other species related to the marbled murrelet can vary in size and the habitat they choose to survive in.

How high can a marbled murrelet fly?

The nests of marbled murrelet birds were found on trees at an elevation of 1500 m. These birds fly at an extraordinary speed and usually prefer an old tree covered in moss to give birth to one nestling. Most of the nests of the marbled murrelets can be found in inland forests in canopies full of old trees.

How much does a marbled murrelet weigh?

The marbled murrelet birds weigh around 0.4-0.6 lb, and the male and the female sea birds are indistinguishable even when they are practically observed. Both have the same brown coloration and are exactly the same on weight. Only the nestlings weigh less and are easy prey for other birds and predators.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no particular names for a male or female marbled murrelet. The male bird is known as the male marble murrelet and the female bird is known as the female marble murrelet.

What would you call a baby marbled murrelet?

The marbled baby murrelet is called a nestling or a fledgling. They do not have a scientific name.

What do they eat?

Their diet mostly consists of small fish, sand lances, capelin, and pacific herring. They are carnivorous in nature and prey in both offshore and inshore areas. They are avians who are native seabirds of Northern America. The marbled murrelet is a robin-sized bird whose diet primarily comprises small fishes and invertebrates that are found in the ocean.

Are they aggressive?

Yes, marbled murrelets have been recorded as being aggressive while flying or escaping a predator. A study conducted in the Redwood Forest Conservation in California showed aggressive flight behavior as well as territorial defense. They can also emit loud noises as a form of aggression.

Would they make a good pet?

The marbled murrelet seabird species is listed as threatened, and it is not possible to keep them as pets. They are avians and should not be kept as pets in the first place.

They fly at great speeds and have very specific living habitats which cannot be recreated artificially. Their number needs to be multiplied by breeding them in order to conserve their species.

Did you know...

Other species of the marbled murrelet, like the Kittlitz’s murrelet, are found in Japan, while the Xantus’s murrelet can be found cohabitating in the hot coast of Baja California. The marbled murrelet is the relative of the common puffin.

The newborn fledglings of the marbled murrelet take their first flight from their nest to the ocean after a period of 28 days, when the egg is incubated.

When was the marbled murrelet listed as endangered?

The marbled murrelet was federally listed under the Endangered Species Act as endangered in the year 1992 in the states of  Washington, Oregon, and California due to a decline in their population caused due to fragmentation of their old-growth habitat.

The loss in their population is not limited to these states, but they are seen to be declining in numbers all over the globe.

What did the marbled murrelet used to be known as?

The marbled murrelet used to be known as Australian Bumble Bee by fishermen and as the 'fog bird' or 'fog lark' by loggers as they mostly are found in these habitats, and the nesting habits of marbled murrelet includes a moss-covered old tree where the adult lays an egg and does not actually build a nest.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including pileated woodpecker, or laughing kookaburra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our marbled murrelet coloring pages.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana Kantam picture

Spandana KantamBachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Acharya Nagarjuna University. She has a passion for writing and enjoys reading crime and thriller novels while listening to RnB music in her free time.

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