Atlantic Puffin

Created on Day 5


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.


  • 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