Climate change and the Arctic food chain
Thick-billed Murres mainly feed on Arctic cod which live in cooler waters. Climate change will affect this species as the ice and sea conditions and available food sources change.
Research by scientists has shown that Thick-billed Murres are switching from eating Arctic cod to capelin, a fish that thrives in warmer waters, symbolizing a big change to their feeding habits and environments.
From egg to adult
Each year, a female Thick-billed Murre lays a single egg directly on a rock ledge, on large cliff faces overlooking the Arctic Ocean. The breeding pair returns to the same spot to lay eggs for the rest of their breeding years.
Adults travel up to 100 km to catch fish to feed their chicks. While fishing, they reach depths of up to 150 meters and can stay under water for four minutes! Once the chick matures enough, but before it can fly, it jumps from the ledge to the water below and calls to the adult male. The male swims away with the chick and takes over the parenting role from this time on.
Thick-billed Murres can be identified by their black head and black-and-white belly.