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Tufted Puffin


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Tufted Puffin is a seabird of the open waters, islands, and coastal cliffs of the north Pacific. It is larger than other puffin species and distinctive in appearance, with a bold white "face-mask" and golden head plumes in the breeding season.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
14.2–15.7 in
36–40 cm
29.1 in
74 cm
18.3–35.3 oz
520–1000 g
Other Names
  • Macareux huppé (French)

Cool Facts

  • The Tufted Puffin nests mostly in deep burrows that it digs into cliff edges and slopes. These burrows can be more than 1.5 meters (5 feet) deep.
  • The Tufted Puffin can capture and hold multiple small fish crosswise in its bill, routinely 5 to 20 fish at a time, for delivery to chicks at the nest. Adults eat their own food while still under water.
  • The oldest recorded Tufted Puffin was at least 6 years old when it was found in Alaska, the same state where it had been banded.



Breeds on coastal slopes in ground burrows, sometimes under boulders and piles of rocks, occasionally under dense vegetation. Winters at sea.




Nesting Facts
Condition at Hatching
Covered in down, can walk, but stays in nest.
Nest Placement



Surface Dive


status via IUCN

Least Concern

There is not a lot of information on Tufted Puffin population trends.The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental breeding population of 2,750,000-3,000,000 birds, rates the species a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and lists it as a Species of Low Concern. Tufted Puffin is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Bycatch in fishing nets killed tens of thousands of Tufted Puffins each year into the 1980s. The elimination of drift-nets on the high seas has reduced mortality, although bycatch in coastal fishing nets still kills large numbers of puffins. In addition, nesting Tufted Puffins are highly vulnerable to red and arctic foxes, river otters, brown bears, and other mammals. Such predators were once absent from most islands in the northeast Pacific, but were introduced in the 1800s and early 1900s. Where present, mammalian predators have devastated or eliminated Tufted Puffins from many islands, but programs to eradicate the introduced species have led to dramatic recovery of puffin populations.


Range Map Help

Tufted Puffin Range Map
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