The Marbled Murrelet Essay

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The Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a marine bird located on the Northeast coast of the United States and British Columbia. It is listed under the following scientific classification: Kingdom—Animalia, Phylum—Chordata, Class—Aves, Order—Charadriiformes, Family—Alcidae, Genus—Brachyramphus, Species—B.marmoratus, Genus size—B, or very small genus (IUCNREDLIST.ORG). The Marbled Murrelet’s nesting habits are unusual compared to other species in the same family who generally nest on rocky cliffs. Instead, nests have been most commonly found on branches of the old growth conifer tree, very high off of the ground. Generally, nests are discovered to be made out of a mixture of moss and lichens. Although it is quite uncommon, nests …show more content…
The Marbled Murrelet feeds along in-shore habitats up to 5 km offshore. Although it is rare, a daily movement range has been recorded to be as much as 250 km in a single day. On average though, the Murrelet will cover an area of around 30 km in a day. They feed either individually or in pairs but never as a flock. Murrelets primarily feed on small fish, such as sand lance and herring, but may also eat small invertebrates like krill. They dive underwater and forage for their prey, staying underwater for up to 60 seconds at a time (Sanctuarysimon.org). The Murrelet chicks are fed adult fish as well, in contrast to other avian chick species who may eat small larvae or juvenile animals (IUCNREDLIST.org) The Murrelet’s habitat varies slightly depending on the region it is occupying, varying the greatest during breeding season. When found at sea, they can be typically spotted on the coast, usually within 5 km of shore. They can be found in a range of different aquatic regions from bays, lakes, river mouths, to lagoons. Because their diet consists primarily of marine fish and krill, these marine systems are crucial to the Murrelets survival. During the mating season, they will typically nest in dense, old growth forests up to 60 km from the coast (Sanctuarysimon.org). In the more Northern regions of British Columbia and Alaska, old-growth forests are absent. In these habitats, it is common for the Murrelet to occupy rocky cliffs or nest on the ground.

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