Synthliboramphus antiquus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Synthliboramphus antiquus
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English Ancient Murrelet

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Calvert, R.
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Ancient Murrelet can be found from the Yellow Sea (islands off China and Korea), through the Russian Pacific coast and the Aleutian Islands to the Haida Gwaii archipelago of British Columbia (Canada), where about half of the world population breeds. It can be found as far south as the southern coast of California (USA) (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Canada; China; Hong Kong; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Mexico; Russian Federation; Taiwan, Province of China; United States
United Kingdom
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.1,000,000-2,000,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996), while national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Korea; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat: This species if found offshore and along rocky sea coasts. It breeds on islands often with dense vegetation. It forages mainly in offshore waters to the edge of the continental shelf but mayalso be found inshore where oceanographic processes concentrated food near the sea surface. It winters well offshore, often off the shelf break, but also over inshore waters where food concentration is high. Its distribution is determined largely by concentrations of planktonic crustaceans and small fish. Diet: Its diet is comprised mainly of planktonic crustaceans and small larval fish, with the specific prey species varying both geographically and temporally. Feeding usually occurs in small flocks by diving. Breeding: Individuals arrive in the vicinity of colonies a month before laying, from early spring to mid-summer depending on the locality. It is colonial but at low densities, and is often associated with other alcids. It is nocturnal at colonies, nesting in burrows excavated in soil but also in rock crevices and cavities and occasionally in holes dug by other suterranean nesters (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Synthliboramphus antiquus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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