Ancient Murrelet: Small, pelagic seabird with black head and dark gray back and wings. White underparts extend up onto the face as a cheek patch. Bill is short and yellow with a blackish tip. An open ocean species vaguely resembling a small penguin that can fly. Swift, direct, and low flight.
Range and Habitat
Ancient Murrelet: Breeds on offshore islets of north Pacific and mainland shores south to central British Columbia. Spends winters south to southern California; also winters in Asia.
It is the only member of the auk family to raise its young entirely at sea. Parents call to the young from out at sea, and the chicks swim towards the adults who keep moving further out throughout the night. Groups have been found 30 miles from the colony within 18 hours of departure.
The Ancient Murrelet is nocturnal on the breeding grounds, presumably to reduce predation, and for the same reason the young are never fed at the nest, being taken to sea a couple of days after hatching.
The German ornithologist who first described this bird thought its white plumes similar to an old man's white locks; hence its Latin name antiquus, from which its English name is derived.
A group of auks has many collective nouns, including a "colony", "loomery", and "raft" of auks.
The Ancient Murrelet is a bird species which is native to numerous countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Canada, China, Korea, Russia, United States, Taiwan and Mexico. There have been reportings of this bird in the United Kingdom as well. The range of the Ancient Murrelet can reach up to 1 million square kilometers. The current global population of the Ancient Murrelet is thought to be around 1 million. It is not believed that there is any reason for immediate concern for this bird's population. It currently has an evaluation rating of Least Concern.