Marbled Murrelet is a small sea bird and is a member of Auk family Alcidae. They found in North Pacific Ocean. Unlike other sea birds, the marbled murrelet nests in old-growth forests or on the ground at higher latitudes. At first, their nesting on trees was suspected, but later it is documented when on tree climber found a chick on tree in 1974.
The Marbled Murrelet faced decline in their population due to loss of their nesting habitat. During the second half of 1800, human cut down their nesting trees for business purpose. Now in 1992, the species are declared as in danger in places like California, Washington, and Oregon by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. However, its remaining population around the world is under review. The Marbled Murrelet is now declared as a flagship species to prevent the old-growth forests.
Marbled murrelets are small in size and are fat. It is 25 cm long. A lean dark bill, pointed wings and brown legs. Its feathers changes with season. A non-breeding bird have a plumage like white below and black back, wings and crown.
Marbled murrelets are closely related to long-billed Murrelet. They look almost similar with little differences. Meanwhile they were considered conspecific up until 1998. In the breeding plumage, both the species has brown spots on face and body. The only difference is that the long-billed murrelet has a pale white throat, which is not present in the Marbled. However, in winters the marbled murrelet has a white neck collar, which is lacking in Long-billed murrelet. The Marbled Murrelet have short bill and has small size relative to the Long-billed Murrelet.
Marbled murrelet lives on eating sandeels, capelin, herring, and shiner perch. During the breeding season the bird lays one egg on a layer of lichen of the branches or sometimes they lay it on ground. The parent bird incubates the egg for a month and feds their young for 40 days until it become mature. After that the young leaves the nest and fly above the sea. The chick mortality is high in Marbled murrelets.
Currently, the Marbled Murrelets is considered as endanger. The species have seen decline in its population over the last few decades. The decline is occurred due to loss of their nesting habitat and also due to other reason like changes in ocean conditions.