Small seabird that breeds in old-growth evergreen forests, sometimes far from the coast. Often in small flocks on coastal waters, where it dives underwater searching for fish. Breeding plumage is dark brown with few contrasting marks; slightly darker cap and blotchy pale belly. Nonbreeding birds are sharply patterned black, white, and gray. Note black cap that extends below the eye, a white collar, and dark grayish pattern on back. Bill is very short and thin. Similar to several other species of murrelets and difficult to distinguish without good views, but note details of face pattern and range.