Ancient Murrelet

Synthliboramphus antiquus

Prior to 1999 Ancient Murrelets were casual in the Pribilof Islands. From 1999-2001 this species was encountered sporadically throughout the spring and summer. Starting in 2002 Ancient Murrelets became much more numerous around the island’s shores. The largest concentrations of this attractively marked Alcid occur around Reef and Southwest Points, but individuals have been seen from virtually every ocean vantage. Breeding behavior (the “flop” display) and what appear to be paired birds have been regularly seen from Reef Blind in the summers of 2002-2005. In September of 2004 the USFWS and Saint Paul guides found a juvenile with parent roughly one mile offshore of Reef Point. It would thus appear that this species is a currently a rare breeder in the Pribilofs and may be colonizing the rock rubble areas around Saint Paul’s southern shores. The identification of this species is straightforward, even at great distances, look for the gray/blue back, white half collar and loose white streak on the side of the crown. Anceint Murrelets are very active feeders, and often feed right along the rocky shoreline, continually diving for small fish and crustaceans.