Alaska Species Explorer

Common Murre

Common Name: Common Murre
Scientific Name: Uria aalge

Is one of the most numerous and most studied marine birds in the Northern Hemisphere.In Alaska, Common Murres breed in Southeast Alaska, the Gulf of Alaska, on the Aleutian Islands and north to Pt. Hope. In winter Common Murres are found at sea, south of the ice edge, and on little islands in the Pacific.

Conservation Status:

With the estimated world breeding population at 13-20.7 million birds and the Alaskan Common Murre population at approximately 2.8 million breeding birds at 230 colonies this population is stable.

Average Wingspan: 28 inches
Average Weight: 900-1100 grams
Plumage Description:

Breeding adult black, white belly and chest. In winter throat is white with a dark line from eye across cheek.

Diet in the Wild: Sandlance, capelin, anchovy, juvenile rockfish, walleye pollock, crustaceans, mollusks, worms
Number of Eggs Per Clutch: 1 egg
Incubation Period: 45 days
Habitat: Highly dense colonies on high cliff ledges and slopes
Threats in the Wild: gulls, eagles, hawks, foxes, and sea lions, fishing nets.
Did you know?:
  • The egg is very pointed at one end (pear-shaped) so, if bumped, it will roll in a tight semi circle instead of off the rocky ledge.
  • Eggs range in color greenish blue with black and brown spots to white. Each female has a different color to be able to recognize her egg in the large colonies when she comes back from fishing at sea.
  • They are the deepest diving bird in the northern hemisphere diving up to 600feet deep.