email a friend
printable version
Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass 211.38 g


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 436,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 5,300,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 7.3 - - -
Population justification: 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).
Trend justification: The population trend is decreasing in North America (based on BBS/CBC data: Butcher and Niven 2007). The global population is also suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Canada Native Extant Yes      
China (mainland) Native Extant       Yes
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant       Yes
Japan Native Extant       Yes
Mexico Native Extant       Yes
North Korea Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant       Yes
South Korea Native Extant       Yes
Taiwan (China) Native Extant       Yes
United Kingdom Vagrant Extant   Yes    
USA Native Extant Yes      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Canada Alder Island site factsheet
Canada Dodge Point and Gogit Passage Island Chain site factsheet
Canada Englefield Bay Islands site factsheet
Canada Frederick Island site factsheet
Canada Hippa Island site factsheet
Canada Kunghit Island and Luxana Bay site factsheet
Canada Langara Island site factsheet
Canada Laskeek Bay site factsheet
Canada Ramsay and Northern Juan Perez Sound Islands site factsheet
Canada Rankine and Langtry Islands site factsheet
Canada Skincuttle Inlet Islands site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Kuril islands (between Urup and Paramushir) site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Starichkov island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Talan island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Tyuleniy island site factsheet
South Korea Chilbal-do island site factsheet
South Korea Kukul-do island site factsheet
USA Buldir & Near Islands Marine site factsheet
USA Buldir Island Colony site factsheet
USA Castle Rock Colonies site factsheet
USA Cherni Island Complex Colonies site factsheet
USA Dixon Entrance 132W54N site factsheet
USA Fenimore Pass & Atka Island Marine site factsheet
USA Koniuji-Atka Island Colony site factsheet
USA Shumagin Islands Marine site factsheet
USA Unimak & Akutan Passes site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline major resident
Marine Intertidal Tidepools major resident
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major resident
Marine Neritic Pelagic major 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 resident
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 100 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Temperature extremes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Synthliboramphus antiquus. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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 Least Concern
Family Alcidae (Auks)
Species name author (Gmelin, 1789)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 436,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species