The ATlantic Puffin Facts

#atlanticpuffin #atlanticpuffinfacts #atlanticpuffinbiology #atlanticpuffinconservation #savetheatlanticpuffin

A much loved and enigmatic creature, Puffins are widely regarded as the cutest birds on Earth and are one of our most iconic seabirds. With their black and white plumage and large orange beaks, the Atlantic puffin and their cousins may look like a cross between a duck and penguin, but these birds are their own kind. They are sometimes known as the “sea parrot” or the “clown of the sea” because of their colourful and comical appearance. They waddle around in a characterful fashion and make the strangest of noises. They are Charming animals and one of Britain’s most loved birds.

The Atlantic Puffin is a small species of seabird that is closely related to other auks such as guillemots. They are best known for their brightly coloured, triangular beaks, and are one of the most distinctive of all seabirds. Atlantic Puffins are small birds and have a thick black and white plumage that helps to keep them warm. They have black necks, backs and wings with white underparts and whitish feathers on the sides of the face. Their feet and legs are yellow during the colder winter months, changing to a bright orange during the breeding season. Atlantic Puffins make loud growling calls usually from underground which sounds like a muffled chainsaw. The chicks “peep” for food from parents.

Puffins are highly sociable animals that are found in vast colonies that can contain as many as two million individuals. Even when feeding out at sea they are known to stick together and form “rafts” to ensure that they are better protected from predators. Atlantic Puffins are incredibly fast in the air and are able to launch very quickly from land or the water when needed. They are also very agile swimmers that are known to dive to depths of up to 60meters for as long as two minutes at a time (although the average dive usually only lasts for around 20 seconds).

They use body movements to communicate in a variety of situations. If the puffin is walking rapidly with its head lowered it is saying, “I am just passing through and don’t mean any trouble.” This is called a low profile walk and is useful because the colony is very crowded and a puffin is often crossing another puffin’s territory as it walks. An aggressive encounter between two puffins often begins by gaping. This involves a puffin puffing up their body to look bigger and opening their wings and beak slightly. The wider the beak is opened the more upset the puffin. The Atlantic puffin may also stomp its foot in place to show its displeasure. If the aggressive encounter escalates into a full-scale brawl the puffins will lock beaks. They will then attempt to topple each other in a wrestling match by using their feet and wings in a flurry of action. A fight may gather a crowd of 10 or more puffin spectators.

In mating and courtship, the puffins will pair up before they come onto the island from the ocean. Once they are on land, the pair may perform billing, a behavior where puffins rub their beaks together. The male uses his bill and feet to dig a nesting burrow on an ocean cliff or island. It is lined with grass and may also be made in a rocky crevice or be in burrows in dense colonies. Burrows shelter chicks from weather and protect them from predators, such as seagulls. Breeding is between April – Jul, and the female produce’s a single egg. Both parents incubate the egg by tucking it under a wing and leaning against it. The egg hatches in about 40 days, and the male and female take turns caring for the egg. Once it hatches, both the male and the female will continue to take care of the puffling.

Puffins don’t mate for life exclusively, but they are pretty monogamous for the animal world. Couples usually go back to the same place to nest year after year. Despite the fact that Puffins are technically omnivorous animals, they have a carnivorous diet that is largely comprised of small fish and supplemented with animal plankton during the winter months. Their uniquely shaped beaks are designed for carrying fish thanks to the layer of spines that are found on the upper part of the beak and on their tongue. They are able to continue fishing without losing any of the catch that they already have stored. The adult Atlantic puffin can carry as many as 30 small fish in its bill to feed to its chick.

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References for Video

Northern atlantic 

https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/legrande_01/

Horned Puffin

“Horned Puffin” by Kirt Edblom is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Rhinoceros Auklet

“Rhinoceros Auklet” by esellingson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Puffin dull colour 

“Photo of the week – Atlantic puffins landing” by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Puffin sound

Puffin sea

“Puffin” by puliarf is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Puffin swimming underwater 

Puffin crash landing in sea

“Puffin_1” by puliarf is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Puffin walk

Puffin billing

Puffin diffing burrow 

Puffin burrow long shot 

“puffin burrows 2” by foxtail_1 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Puffin egg 2

“Puffin’s Egg” by Lawrence OP is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Incubation 

Hatches

Herring fish

Puffins on water

“Two Pals” by Me in ME is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Puffin flying with fish 

“Puffin fishing” by vic_206 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Feeding chick

Puffin burrow 

“Puffin island plateau plants and puffin burrows, rats” by Mary Gillham Archive Project is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Puffins fighting 

Puffin hunter – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Puffin_hunter_in_Sudurey

Puffin meat – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Puffin_meat_IMG_2717_(16340927843)

Dead puffin chick – “Dead puffin chick in Silene. Godin” by Mary Gillham Archive Project is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Puffin fight

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