Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Common Murre - Uria aalge
ALCIDAE Members:
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General Comments For a seemingly interminable time, North Carolina went without a record of this very common alcid. Though the normal winter range of the Common Murre is only south to New England or Long Island -- essentially in offshore waters -- all records of murres in state waters until 2001 had been of Thick-billed. Common Murre is obviously not nearly as migratory as the Thick-billed Murre or the Razorbill, as these latter two species are seen in state waters every few winters, if not more often (i.e., the Razorbill essentially every winter).
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Accidental to (now) casual winter visitor offshore and along the coast. Prior to 2011, there were only two records, both documented by photos: one was seen in the surf/inshore ocean at Cape Hatteras Point on 2-3 Feb 2001* [Chat 66:58-61 link], and one in breeding plumage was found injured on the beach at Emerald Isle (Carteret) on 2 Apr 2008* [Chat 72:112 link]. There were three offshore reports in early 2011, all photographed: a pair about 12 miles SE of Hatteras Inlet on 15 Jan*; one seen during a pelagic trip out of Hatteras on 28 Jan*; and one near Diamond Shoals off Hatteras on 29 Jan* [Chat 76:2 link]. It is possible that there could be duplication of records/birds among these 2011 sightings; but, for now, there are 5 reports.
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips The increase in sightings in the past decade is gratifying for pelagic birders, but whether this signals a population increase in the species is not known. At any rate, take a winter pelagic trip, and carefully scrutinize all alcids, and do not assume all of the large black and white ones are Razorbills.
1/2 * to *
Attribution LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2014-06-08], LeGrand[2012-06-23]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NA Maps
(source NatureServe)

View NatureServe distribution maps for Uria aalge