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Melanism in a Common Murre Uria aalge in Kachemak Bay, Alaska

October 15, 2022

In accord with melanism being uncommon in birds, we could find only six published records of completely melanistic Common Murres Uria aalge, one of the most widely and intensively studied of all seabirds. We added to the record by observing a Common Murre in completely dark, melanistic alternate plumage every summer from 2017 to 2021 at Gull Island in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, USA. In 2017, the bird frequented the colony periphery, indicating that it could have been a subadult. Subsequently, it occupied the same narrow rock ledge within the colony every summer from 2018 to 2021, an indication that it may have been attempting to breed. Because we have been conducting long-term monitoring on Gull Island, we are in the unique position to be able to monitor the attendance and reproductive performance of this distinctively marked murre into the future.

Publication Year 2022
Title Melanism in a Common Murre Uria aalge in Kachemak Bay, Alaska
Authors Sarah K. Schoen, Mayumi L. Arimitsu, Caitlin Elizabeth Marsteller, Brielle M. Heflin
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Ornithology: Journal of Seabird Research and Conservation
Index ID 70237652
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB