Nests on offshore islands or along the coast. Islands are typically treeless and shrubless, and densely covered with grass tussocks (Campbell et al. 1990). Nests on slopes, preferably steep, in ground burrows, sometimes under boulders and piles of rocks, occasionally under dense vegetation (AOU 1983); also recorded nesting in sandy estuarine islands along north-central Alaska Peninsula (Spendelow and Patton 1988). In B.C. colonies range from 8 to 130 m above sea level (Campbell et al. 1990). Forages with in 100 km of colonies in bay, shelf, and shelf-edge habitats (Hunt et al. 1981, Gould et al. 1982, Harrison 1982, Piatt et al. 1990, 1992, Piatt 1993, 2002).
AOU. 1983. Check-list of North American birds. 6th ed.American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington D. C.
Campbell, R. W., N. K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, G. W. Kaiser, and M. C. E. McNall. 1990. The Birds of British Columbia. Vol. 1 and 2, Nonpasserines. UBC Press, Vancouver, B.C.
Gould, P. J., D. J. Forsell, and C. J. Lensink. 1982. Pelagic distribution and abundance of seabirds in the Gulf of Alaska and eastern Bering Sea. U.S. Dep. Int., Fish Wildl. Serv., Biol. Serv. Prog., OBS 82/48.
Harrison, C. S. 1982. Spring distribution of marine birds in the Gulf of Alaska. Condor 84: 245-254.
Hunt, G. L., P. J. Gould, D. J. Forsell, and H. Peterson. 1981. Pelagic distribution of marine birds in the eastern Bering Sea. Pp. 689-718 In: The eastern Bering Shelf: oceanography and resources (D. W. Hood and J. A. Calder, eds.). Natl. Oceanic Atmos. Admin., Washington, D.C.
Piatt, J. F. 1993. Oceanic, shelf, and coastal seabird assemblages at the mouth of a tidally-mixed estuary (Cook Inlet, Alaska). Fin. Rep. for Mineral Management Service (OCS Study MMS 93-0015). Anchorage, AK.
Piatt, J. F., ed. 2002. Response of seabirds to fluctuations in forage fish density. Fin. Rep. to Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (Restoration Project 00163M) and Minerals Management Service (Alaska OCS Region). Alaska Sci. Center, U.S. Geol. Surv., Anchorage, AK.
Piatt, J. F., J. L. Wells, A. MacCharles, and B. Fadely. 1990. The distribution of seabirds and their pry in relation to ocean currents in the southeastern Chukchi Sea. Can Wildl. Serv. Occas. Pap. 68: 21-31.
Piatt, J. F., A. Pinchuk, A. Kitaisky, A. M. Springer, and S. A. Hatch. 1992. Foraging distribution and feeding ecology of seabirds at the Diomede Islands. Fin. Rep. for Minerals Management Service (OCS Study MMS 92-041). Anchorage, AK.
Spendelow, J. A. and S. R. Patton. 1988. National Atlas of Coastal Waterbird Colonies in the Contiguous United States: 1976-1982. USFWS, Biological Report 88(5). X + 326 pp.