Marbled Murrelet in Switzerland: a Pacific Ocean auk new to the Western Palearctic

Published on 01 April 2000 in Main articles

ABSTRACT Between 15th and 18th December 1997, a first-winter Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus of the Asian subspecies perdix was discovered dead in a fishing net at Zollikon, Lake Zurich, Switzerland. It constitutes the first record of this Pacific Ocean species for the Western Palearctic, accepted by the Swiss Rarities Committee as relating to a wild bird and placed in Category A. The circumstances of the finding and identification of the specimen are described, and an updated overview of the conservation status in the breeding range and of the taxonomy of this little-known, threatened auk is provided.Between the mornings of 15th and 18th December 1997, fisherman Urs Bäumler found in his nets a drowned little bird. It was about the same size as a Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, but he could not identify it. The locality was at Zollikon, Lake Zurich (47°20′ N, 8°34′ E), 400 m beyond the borders of Zurich.The nets were placed 40 mfrom the shore at a depth of 3-4 m. At that time of the year, the area is the favourite place for the fishing of spawning whitefish Coregonus. The drenched bird was carefully taken out of the net and the corpse was kept in a freezer for the next few days. In due course, U. Bäumler informed René von Allmen, who had asked him to preserve any bird drowned in his nets. In spring 1998, R. von Allmen brought the bird to his taxidermist, Bruno Ambauen, who111. Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus of Asian subspecies perdix,

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