Puffin

Species profile

Name: puffins are sea birds belonging to the Fratercula genus. There are three distinct species including the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica), tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata), and horned puffin (Fratercula corniculata).

Appearance: all three puffin species are known for their black feathers; short, stocky shape; and large, colourful beaks. They shed the colourful outer parts of their beaks after the breeding season, leaving a smaller and duller beak for the rest of the year.

Size: the Atlantic puffin is the smallest species with a wingspan of 53 cm and a weight of 380 g. Horned and tufted puffins are slightly larger, with wingspans of 58 and 64 cm, and weighing between 620 and 780 g.

Diet: they eat both fish and plankton, although typically feed their young on small fish.

Did you know: puffins have the unique ability to hold several (sometimes over a dozen!) small fish in their beaks at the same time. This means that they can spend a longer time foraging and bring back more food for their chicks (known as ‘pufflings’) than other species. This is possible due to the unique hinging mechanism on their beaks, which allows the upper and lower edges to meet at a number of different angles.

Location: the Atlantic puffin is found in the North Atlantic off the coasts and islands of northern Europe, Canada, and the US. While horned and tufted puffins are found in the North Pacific, around Siberia, Alaska, British Colombia, and California.

Where to see PUFFINS

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see puffins in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
West Cork
Ireland
100%
very good
5.0
very good
1
reports
South Stack
Wales
100%
very good
4.0
very good
1
reports
Isle of Mull
Scotland
50%
average
4.5
very good
4
reports

Photo credit: snapan under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay

Leave a Reply