Atlantic Puffin

Created on Day 5

Design

The puffin has a large triangular bill, which is very efficient at catching and holding small fish. It also has a special gland that produces oil, with which it waterproofs its feathers. A puffins can dive as deep as 100 ft (30 m) into the ocean for fish. While underwater it uses its small wings as propellers and its webbed feet like paddles.

Features

  • All three species of puffins stand upright and have black and white head and body plumage. They also have brightly-colored bills, mostly yellow and orange.
  • The legs and feet are orange.

Fun Facts

  • The Atlantic puffin can fly at speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h). It achieves this amazing speed by beating its wings rapidly, up to 400 beats per minute.
  • The outer part of the puffin’s bill sheds after mating season.
  • The large colorful bill of the puffin caused early sailors to give them the nickname “sea parrot.”
  • The Atlantic puffin spends the winter out at sea.

CLASS: Aves (birds)

ORDER: Charadriiformes (shorebirds and relatives)

FAMILY: Alcidae (auks)

GENUS/SPECIES: Fratercula arctica

Size: 12–14 in (30–36 cm)

Weight: About 1 lb (0.5 kg)

Diet: Small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans

Habitat: Greenland and Northern Canada, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia, Iceland, Northern Scandinavia, Northern Russia, Ireland, and NW coast of France