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Puffin

Puffin

Any of the four auk species from the genus Fratercula are Puffins. Puffins are colonial birds, who nests in rock crevices or in burrows in the soil. They breed on offshore islands or on coastal cliffs.

Puffins have large bills. During breeding season they display a bright colored beak. However after the season they cast off the brighter outer parts and leave a small and duller beak. Puffins have relatively short wings. They swim underwater with the flying technique. Puffins beat their wings fast during the flight as 400 times per minute. They fly low to the ocean's surface.

Puffins catch their prey by diving into water. The adult birds feed upon fish and zooplankton, however the young ones feed on small fishes. Puffins are unique in their ability to hold more than dozen of small fishes in their bill. Like this they can carry lot of food for their chick than carrying only one fish at a time.

The four species of puffins are given below with their binomial name:

  • Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata
  • Atlantic Puffin Fratercula Arctica
  • Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata
  • Horned Puffin Fratercula corniculata

The Tufted Puffin was previously put in the genus Lunda. Puffins are found in the northern Pacific. Puffin Holding Fish

In Atlantic Puffin, the male bird builds the nest. However in Horned Puffin, both the sexes together build their nest. The length of burrows of Horned Puffin is up to 1 metre, while length of tunnel of a Tufted Puffin may be up to 2.75 metres. Meanwhile the burrows of Atlantic Puffin are lined with some material like leaves, grass and feathers. However, sometimes they are unlined.

Puffins make long-term bond with their mate. During the breeding season, the bird lays one egg into the nest. Both the parent birds incubate it. The young bird (fledge) spend first few years at sea, before returning to breed after five years.