The Long-billed Murrelet (Brachyramphus perdix) was previously considered to breed in Hokkaido, Japan, but the single 1961 historical nest record was recently found to be invalid, and small numbers observed during at-sea surveys off northeastern Hokkaido in 1996–2001 did not suggest breeding. In the Iburi Region of southern Hokkaido, small numbers of Long-billed Murrelets were observed at sea in May 2010 (n = 8) and May 2011 (n = 4), reflecting either local breeding, a stopover site during migration, or non-breeding individuals south of the breeding range during the breeding season. Single Long-billed Murrelets also were observed in October and December 2011, representing movements after the pre-basic molt. A historical record of a juvenile found in the forest about 20 km inland near the Chitose River in either 1913 or 1915 provides evidence of historical breeding in the Iburi Region and the best evidence so far of breeding in Japan, although breeding also may occur in the nearby southern Kuril Islands. At-sea and forest surveys are needed to better establish the status of and help conserve this declining species in the Iburi Region and other parts of Hokkaido.
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Vol. 36 • No. 4