We studied aspects of the reproduction of Kittlitz’s Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1996-1998. Productivity in all bays was extremely low in all years: only one fledgling in 1996, none in 1997, and evidence of breeding (but no fledglings seen) in 1998. Other evidence suggested that these birds spent such short periods in two of the bays that they could not have bred successfully. We also observed what appeared to be mixed-species “pairs” of Kittlitz’s and Marbled Murrelets (B. marmoratus) in early summer 1997 and on all late-summer cruises. Although breeding failures may not be uncommon in Kittlitz’s Murrelet, the low reproductive output in all three years and the occurrence of mixed-species pairs are sources of conservation concern and suggest that this species may be experiencing problems reproducing successfully in Prince William Sound.
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Vol. 27 • No. 1