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Tufted Puffin Life History


Habitat OceansBreeds on coastal slopes in ground burrows, sometimes under boulders and piles of rocks, occasionally under dense vegetation. Winters at sea.Back to top


Food FishBack to top


Nest Placement

Nest Burrow

Nesting Facts

Condition at Hatching:Covered in down, can walk, but stays in nest.
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Behavior Surface DiveBack to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere 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.Back to top


Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. (2019). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Piatt, John F. and Alexander S. Kitaysky. (2002). Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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