Atlantic puffin – Fratercula arctica
Atlantic Puffin – Fratercula arctica
The Atlantic puffin is also known as the common puffin. It is sometimes known as the “sea parrot” or the “clowns of the sea” because of their colorful and comical appearance.
This is a species of seabird in the auk family.
It is one of four species of puffins and is the only puffin that lives in the North Atlantic Ocean. It breeds in Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Newfoundland and many North Atlantic islands, and as far south as Maine in the west and the British Isles in the east. The Atlantic puffin spends the autumn and winter in the open ocean of the cold northern seas and returns to coastal areas at the start of the breeding season in late spring.
The Atlantic puffin has a large population and a wide range. It is not considered to be endangered although there may be local declines in numbers.
This puffin is a short and stocky diving sea bird. It is black on its uppersides and white on its chest and belly. It has bright orange webbed feet and white and large face and cheeks, triangular parrot-like beak that is bright red and yellow.
After the breeding season, some of the horny beak’s outer plates fall off and the beak is smaller and duller. The puffins white face also becomes darker after breeding season. The puffin looks so different during breeding and non-breeding season that it was once thought to be two separate species of bird. Males and females look alike.
The Atlantic puffin dives for its food and uses its wings to swim underwater. It dives both from the air and from the surface of the water and can dive hundreds of meters under the water in pursuit of prey. It catches small fish, crustaceans and mollusks and swallows them while they are still underwater.