Uria lomvia - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Thick-billed Murre
Other English Common Names: Brünnich's Murre
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Uria lomvia (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 176978)
French Common Names: guillemot de Brünnich
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100797
Element Code: ABNNN02020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Charadriiformes Alcidae Uria
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Uria lomvia
Taxonomic Comments: An analysis of genetic relationships using amplified DNA revealed two clades, one in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic; there was no apparent genetic divergence among several populations in the western and eastern Atlantic (Birt-Friesen et al. 1992).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 10Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 27Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (26Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S4), District of Columbia (SHN), Maine (S1N), Massachusetts (S2N), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNRN), North Carolina (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), Washington (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (S1B), Labrador (S3B,S3M), New Brunswick (S3N,S3M), Newfoundland Island (S4B,S4M), Northwest Territories (S3B), Nova Scotia (S5N), Nunavut (S5B,S5N,S5M), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (S3)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: islands, coasts in Arctic of North America and Eurasia. In North America south to Aleutian and Kodiak islands, Hudson Bay, and Gulf of St. Lawrence. WINTERS: Newfoundland waters comprise the most important wintering area in the western Atlantic. In North America south to southeastern Alaska and southern New England (AOU 1983).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Censuses in the 1970s and early 1980s yielded an estimate of about 1.5 million breeding pairs in eastern Canada (12,000-13,000 in Newfoundland-Labrador-Gulf of St. Lawrence). Gaston (in Hyslop and Kennedy 1992) estimated that about 2 million breed in the vicinity of Hudson Strait, Canada.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Possibly declined at Digges Sound and perhaps at Akpatok Island between the 1950s and 1980s, perhaps due to overharvest and mortality in nets. Major declines that have occurred over past few decades in Greenland were due mainly to overhunting and mortality in the gill-net fishery (Evans 1984). On islands off Labrador, colonizing arctic foxes eliminated breeding populations of thick-billed murres (Birkhead and Nettleship 1995). Many are killed in the Japanese gill-net fishery in the North Pacific (Lensink 1984, King 1984).

Short-term Trend Comments: Considerable declines may have taken place at Digges Sound and perhaps at Akpatok Island between the 1950s and 1980s; however, Gaston cautioned that population trends are very difficult to ascertain. Major declines have occurred over past few decades in Greenland (Evans 1984). Most Alaska populations probably are stable, though local increases and declines have been noted (Lensink 1984).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: islands, coasts in Arctic of North America and Eurasia. In North America south to Aleutian and Kodiak islands, Hudson Bay, and Gulf of St. Lawrence. WINTERS: Newfoundland waters comprise the most important wintering area in the western Atlantic. In North America south to southeastern Alaska and southern New England (AOU 1983).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, DC, MA, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, RI, WA
Canada BC, LB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, PE, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Egg dates vary with location and ice conditions (mean laying date in mid-June in western Gulf of Alaska). Both sexes incubate 1 egg for 25-40 days (mode about 32-34). Young is fed at the nest by both sexes for 16-35 days (average 23), then goes to sea, tended by adult (frequently the male) for a few weeks. First breeds usually at an age of 3-6 years (Gaston et al. 1994). At Coats Island, Northwest Territories, reproductive success increased with age to at least nine years (Gaston et al. 1994).
Ecology Comments: Annual adult survival was estimated at 91% in northeastern Canada (Hudson 1985), 86-90% at Coats Island, Northwest Territories; the latter population was subject to heavy hunting in the wintering area; survival rate of young from departure to age three years was estimated at 52% (Gaston et al. 1994).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Birds from eastern North America arctic migrate to Newfoundland either directly or via western Greenland; birds from European arctic move southwest toward western Greenland. Arrives on breeding grounds in Greenland in April (low arctic) - May or June (high arctic), departs mid-August to early September (Evans 1984). See Brown (1985) and Johnsgard (1987) for more information on migration and breeding areas of specific wintering populations.
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore, Pelagic
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cliff
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Nonbreeding: mostly pelagic, less frequently along rocky coasts (AOU 1983). Tends to occupy deeper waters and areas farther offshore than does common murre (Johnsgard 1987).

Nests on narrow ledges or, less often, in crevices and caves, on steep sea cliffs and offshore islands (Harris and Birkhead 1985); generally more abundant on islands than on mainland coasts (Johnsgard 1987). Usually uses same nest site in successive yrs.

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Dives underwater from surface, feeds on fishes (average about 10 cm, often benthic species) and crustaceans, to lesser extent polychaetes and molluscs. Chicks are fed mainly fishes, also invertebrates. Forages up to 175 km from colony in some areas. Dives up to 210 m, but usually 40 m or less (Croll et al. 1992).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Foraging dives are mainly nocturnal (Croll et al. 1992).
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 46 centimeters
Weight: 964 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Harvested for food in huge numbers (at least hundreds of thousands) by residents of Newfoundland and Greenland; mainly shot in winter (Evans 1984; Falk and Durinck, 1992, Arctic 45:167-178).
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: See Evans and Nettleship (1985) for research and management recommendations.
Monitoring Requirements: The period from mid-laying to hatching is best for censusing (Hatch and Hatch 1989).
Management Research Needs: See Evans and Nettleship (1985) for research recommendations.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Colonial Seabirds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Breeding Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Map foraging areas as separate polygons if they are separated from the breeding colony by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Where colonies are closer than 5 kilometers, separate occurrences may be created if research shows little genetic mixing between colonies.
Separation Justification: Occurrences include nesting and foraging areas, but occurrence separations are based on nesting areas (i.e., distance between nesting areas, regardless of foraging locations). Hence, different occurrences may overlap.

Occurrences are not based on discrete populations or metapopulations. Instead, the separation distance is arbitrarily small such that occurrences are of of practical size for data management purposes.

Evidence from a number of species of seabirds indicates that even though the 'home ranges' of individual nesting seabirds may be immense when foraging trips are taken into account, little movement or feeding overlap may occur between nearby colonies. For example, Thick-billed Murres may commute up to 170 kilometers one way on a feeding trip from the colony, but birds from a colony only 8 kilometers away may forage in a completely different direction; even birds from different sub-colonies only 1.5 kilometers apart mostly fed in completely separate areas (Gaston and Hipfner 2000).

Most seabirds have strong breeding site fidelity; e.g., Thick-billed Murres (Gaston and Hipfner 2000, Gaston et al. 1994), Gray-backed Tern (Mostello et al. 2000), Red-footed Booby (Schreiber et al. 1996).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Somewhat arbitrary, but generally very conservative for this group, many members of which travel long distances to foraging grounds.
Date: 20Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Feeding area, Loafing site, Roosting site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds (including historical), including nonbreeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season; and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 25 birds regularly occur for more than 20 days per year would be deemed EOs; the number of individuals may be reduced for very rare species. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary; defined this small to aid in conservation planning. Sites more than 10 kilometers apart may be joined as one occurrence if research shows that predominantly the same individuals are using both sites.
Date: 07Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 19Apr1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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