Endangered Species in Santa Cruz County - Birds


Marbled Murrelet

Marbled Murrelet

Scientific Name: Brachyramphus marmoratus

Status: T, CH

The Marbled Murrelet is a small, chubby seabird that has a very short neck. Adults are about the size of a robin; males and females are similar in appearance and size. Murrelets have a black bill and an entirely dark tail. Breeding adult is dark brown above, heavily mottled below. In winter plumage, white below, with white scapular streak on otherwise dark upperparts. Juvenile resembles winter adult but has dusky-mottled underparts, which become mostly white by the first winter.

The Marbled Murrelet is non-migratory and feeds primarily on small fish, crustaceans and mollusks. In central California, it inhabits coastal areas, mainly in salt water within 2 km of shore; its nests are generally in mature/old growth coniferous forest (e.g., Douglas-fir, mountain hemlock) near the coast. The species is secretive and solitary, not tending to flock with other birds. The primary reasons for its endangered status are prey limitation and nest predation.

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Last updated by teeterj on Oct. 24, 2011

Browse by Status Key

E — Endangered

T — Threatened

CH — Critical Habitat

PE — Taxa proposed for listing as endangered

PT — Taxa proposed for listing as threatened

PCH — Critical habitat which has been proposed

C — Candidate species for which the Fish and Wildlife Service has on file sufficient information on the biological vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list as endangered or threatened