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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Common Murre Uria aalge

Conspicuously marked in brownish black and gleaming white, the common murre spends most of the year at sea. It dives for fish from the surface, swimming underwater using its wings. In spring, common murres crowd together on narrow cliff ledges, where each female lays a single egg directly on to the rock. When the chick is fully grown, the male parent escorts it into the sea.

Common Murres' Adapted Eggs

Murre eggs are distinctly pointed at one end and will roll around in a circle if disturbed. This adaptation keeps them from falling off the narrow cliff ledges where they are laid. Their color varies greatly and their irregular surface markings of dark blotches and intricate scribbling may aid identification by the parent common murres.

Common Murrezoom image
  • Order Charadriiformes
  • Length 15–16 in (39–42 cm)
  • Weight 1–2 lb (850 g–1.1 kg)
  • Habitat Inshore waters, rocky coasts, open sea
  • Distribution North Atlantic, north Pacific
Common Murre habitat mapzoom image