Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia
ALCIDAE Members:
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General Comments Quite similar to the Common Murre in appearance and in overall habits, the Thick-billed Murre is a slightly more northern/boreal counterpart. Yet, the latter species is more strongly migratory, such that the species is recorded in North Carolina waters every few years. Surprisingly, nearly all records of Thick-billed Murres are along the coast; one does not realistically seek the species on a pelagic trip, though north of the Carolinas the species can be seen on such boat trips. Instead, Thick-billeds have an affinity to forage in shallow inshore waters, such as around jetties, groins, or piers; some or many of these birds are likely sick or injured. There are no state records away from tidal water.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Winter visitor, essentially coastal (inshore ocean); perhaps slightly declining in recent years. Very rare (approximately 30 records) along the entire coast, including the southern coast, where there are a handful of records for the Wrightsville Beach area. Only a few offshore records, with three of them coming in Feb 2018. The only Tidewater record is of one shot at the mouth of the Neuse River on 22 Dec 1896. Mainly from early Dec to late Mar, with a few records to 1 May (specimen) [Chat 69:116 link]. Peak counts: 3, Wrightsville Beach, 22 Mar 1986; 2, Bogue Inlet, 30 Mar 2005; 2, off Hatteras Inlet, 18 Feb 2018.
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips You will just have to luck into one along the coast in winter, though a more careful observer who scans waters around jetties and piers has a better chance than someone who has no scope. A few may linger near jetties for a few days, but these are perhaps mostly sick or injured birds. There are a handful of pelagic records, though your chances on winter trips is barely 10%.
1/2* to *
Attribution LeGrand[2019-06-26], LeGrand[2018-06-09], LeGrand[2018-02-01]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.