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Atlantic Puffin

Fratercula arctica ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: ALCIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A natty black-and-white seabird with a huge, multicolored bill, the Atlantic Puffin looks like a clown of the sea. It breeds in colonies on rocky islands in the North Atlantic and winters at sea.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Other Names
  • Macareux moine (French)
  • Frailecillo (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Atlantic Puffin may live to be more than 30 years old. It does not breed until it is three to six years old.
  • The bright colors of the Atlantic Puffin make it well loved by people. Boat tours to see puffins are popular near their breeding grounds, and it has been selected to be the provincial bird of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The oldest Atlantic Puffin was over 33 years, 1 month old when it was sighted and identified by its band in Maine in 2010. It had been banded in the same state in 1977.

Habitat


Ocean

Food


Fish

Nesting

Nest Placement

Burrow

Behavior


Surface Dive

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Heavily exploited for eggs and meat in 1800s and early 1900s. Populations drastically declined, with some colonies eliminated. Currently American population is growing. The species rates an 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and is not on the 2016 State of the Birds Watch List. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates between 750,000 and 760,000 breeding birds on the continent. A reintroduction program in Maine run by National Audubon Society was successful in creating new breeding colonies of the species in that state. For more information, visit Project Puffin.

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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