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(Uria), a genus of birds of the suborder Alciformes, order Charadriiformes. The body is 40–48 cm long; the weight, 0.8–1.2 kg. There are two species—the common murre (U. aalge) and the thick-billed murre (U. lomvia). Murres are found in the temperate and polar seas of the northern hemisphere. Their feet are webbed. Murres move awkwardly on land, supported on the metatarsal bone and the toes. Their flight is rapid, and they swim and dive, to 10 m or more, excellently, moving under water with their wings and using their legs as rudders. They nest on sea cliffs in large colonies, appearing at the sites in April and May. One egg is laid directly on the rock. The incubation period is 35 days. Outside the reproductive period, murres keep to the open sea, feeding on small fish, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates.
In the USSR there are large breeding colonies of murres on the western Murmansk coast, Novaia Zemlia, many Arctic islands, Chukotka, Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands, and Sakhalin. The eggs and the birds are used as food.
REFERENCEKozlova, E. V. Rzhankoobraznye: Podotriad chistikovye. (Fauna SSSR: Ptitsy, vol. 2., fasc. 3.) Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
N. N. KARTASHEV