During the breeding season, this species is found primarily on islands and in nearby offshore waters of Baja California. Craveri's Murrelet ranges further south than any other alcid species, although it shares much of its range with Xantus's Murrelet and Cassin's Auklet. After breeding is complete for the year, Craveri's Murrelets disperse both north and south, expanding their range to the coasts of central California and western Mexico, perhaps as far south as Guatemala. Mexico's Isla San Pedro Martir Important Bird Area (IBA), and Isla San Pedro Nolasco IBA are two of at least 11 islands off Baja California that support breeding Craveri's Murrelets.
This resident of warm, coastal waters only comes to shore during the breeding season, when it seeks out small arid coastal islands. A ground-nester, it requires rocky, vegetated coastal areas, where it builds its nest along cliffs, in crevices, or hidden among dense shrubs. Following the breeding season, the birds move out to sea for the autumn and winter months.
Like all murrelets, Craveri's dives from the water's surface to capture its prey. It is a strong underwater swimmer, able to propel itself rapidly with its wings in pursuit of fish. Larval fish are the main food taken, especially rockfish, herring, and lanternfish.
A pelagic bird, Craveri's comes to shore to breed in colonies from spring until early summer. Two eggs are laid at night in a well-hidden depression, rocky crevice, or ground-burrow. Nothing is added to the "nest" – the eggs rest directly on the ground. The two pale eggs can be highly variable in both coloration and markings. Incubation lasts about a month, and both parents tend to the eggs. After hatching, the young, downy-feathered chicks are able to follow their parents to the sea within just two days! The first month at sea is dangerous for young Craveri's chicks; their survival rate during this time period is only 30-35%. After the nesting season, family groups disperse to off-shore waters.
Following the breeding season, birds disperse to both the north and south, along the Pacific coast and the eastern coast of Baja California. Birds occasionally wander up or down the Pacific coast, and have been noted far from their typical range.