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Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris

IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2013 Critically Endangered
2012 Critically Endangered
2010 Critically Endangered
2009 Critically Endangered
2008 Critically Endangered
2005 Critically Endangered
2004 Critically Endangered
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency High
Land mass type shelf island
Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 355,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 1,850,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals medium Estimated 0
Population trend Decreasing good -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 12.1 - - -
Population justification: The population in Alaska is currently estimated at 19,578 individuals (range of 8,190-36,193; USFWS 2009). Data from Russia is scarce, but 5,100 birds are estimated to occur along Kamchatka and the Chukotka Peninsula (USFWS 2009), hence the global population is best placed in the band 20,000-40,000 individuals. Brazil (2009) estimates that Russian population to comprise: < 100 breeding pairs; < 50 individuals on migration and < 50 wintering individuals.
Trend justification: Surveys have indicated that the population is undergoing an extremely rapid decline, which is projected to continue (K. Kuletz in litt. 2002; Kuletz et al. 2003; Kissling 2006; Piatt et al. undated). However, more recent surveys suggest that the population may not be declining at such a steep rate (M. Kissling in litt. 2010; M. Kirchoff in litt. 2010), although clarification is required.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Canada Native Extant      
Japan Native Extant   Yes  
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes    
USA Native Extant Yes    

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
USA Attu Island site factsheet
USA Harriman Fjord site factsheet
USA Icy Bay site factsheet
USA Kachemak Bay (South Shore) site factsheet
USA Uganik Bay and Viekoda Bay site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Boreal major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major resident
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable resident
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major resident
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable non-breeding
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources / Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact:
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Ecosystem degradation
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Industrial & military effluents / Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Very Rapid Declines Past Impact
Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Brachyramphus brevirostris. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Alcidae (Auks)
Species name author (Vigors, 1829)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 355,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species