Chordates •

Kittlitz's murrelet

(Brachyramphus brevirostris)


The Kittlitz's murrelet,(Brachyramphus brevirostris) is a small alcid found in the waters off Alaska and Eastern Siberia.This near threatened species is,like the closely related marbled murrelet,unusual for seabirds in not being colonial,nesting instead in isolated locations on mountain tops,where the nests were known to Native Americans for many years before skeptical ornithologists described and photographed them.It is a poorly known and little studied species,although concern over its status and that of the closely related marbled murrelet has led to a recent increase in research.The Kittlitz's murrelet is,like the marbled murrelet,a small compact auk,25 cm long with tiny legs and cryptic plumage during the breeding season.The colour of the breeding plumage,greyish-brown,reflects its habit of breeding on bare ground near snowfields.In the winter it adopts the black and white plumage typical of many seabirds.Its bill is smaller than that of the marbled murrelet.The Kittlitz's murrelet mostly breeds and lives in the coastal areas of Alaska,both on the mainland around Prince William Sound,the Kenai Peninsula,sparsely up the west coast and along the Aleutian Islands.It also nests in Siberia and possibly Wrangel Island.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Aves
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