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Thick Billed Murre

The thick-billed murre or Brunnich’s guillemot (Uria lomvia) swims far better than it flies. Takeoff is awkward, but once it’s airborne, it can fly at about 75 mph. Among the deepest underwater divers of all birds, it uses its stubby wings to “fly” through the water, routinely reaching depths of more than 330 feet, sometimes even twice that. Covered in black feathers on its head, back, and wings and white feathers on its breast and underside, this waterbird can be found in Arctic waters. The thick-billed murre doesn’t build nests. Instead, the female joins others of her species in a large, noisy colony and lays a single egg on a narrow cliff ledge. She then arranges pebbles and other debris close to the egg, cementing them with feces to form a support that prevents the large egg from rolling off the ledge.