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Common Murre

Silhouette AuksAuks
Common MurreUria aalge
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Alcidae

Basic Description

Common Murres are dapper, black-and-white seabirds that nest in raucous throngs on crowded sea cliffs. Often described as "flying penguins," they have a tuxedoed look but are actually relatives of auks and puffins. Their slender wings do double duty—allowing them to fly long distances to forage, and then working like flippers as the birds swim down 100 feet or so to catch fish. These hardy birds are at home on the open ocean, and rarely come to land except when nesting.

More ID Info
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Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Murres are birds of northern ocean waters. Watch for them from shore (use a spotting scope for best results) or while out on a birding pelagic, whale watching trip, or other ocean excursion. They're present all year along the West Coast; mainly in winter in the East as far south as New Jersey. A nesting cliff is a fantastic sight to behold, and well worth the travel. Nesting sites are fairly widespread along the Pacific coast; in the Atlantic you'll need to visit Maine or Canada (or Europe).

Other Names

  • Arao Común (Spanish)
  • Guillemot marmette (French)
  • Cool Facts