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Puffin Description And More Overviews about
Puffin is any of the three species of small alcids in the bird genus Fratercula with a brightly colored beak during the breeding season. These are pelagic seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water.
Puffin Family: Alcidae
Length: Horned puffin: 32 cm Encyclopedia of Life
Scientific name: Fratercula
Mass: Atlantic puffin: 490 g, Tufted puffin: 700 – 840 g, Horned puffin: 580 – 650 g
Puffin they breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands, nesting in crevices among rocks or in burrows in the soil. Two species, the tufted puffin and horned puffin are found in the North Pacific Ocean, while the Atlantic puffin is found in the North Atlantic Ocean.
All puffin species have predominantly black or black and white plumage, a stocky build, and large beaks. They shed the colorful outer parts of their bills after the breeding season, leaving a smaller and duller beak. Their short wings are adapted for swimming with a flying technique underwater. In the air, they beat their wings rapidly (up to 400 times per minute) in swift flight, often flying low over the ocean's surface.
A significant decline in numbers of puffins in Shetland is worrying scientists.
The puffins are stocky, short-winged, and short-tailed birds, with black upperparts and white or brownish-grey underparts. The head has a black cap, the face is mainly white, and the feet are orange-red. The bill appears large and colorful during the breeding season. The colorful outer part of the bill is shed after the breeding season, revealing a smaller and duller true bill beneath. Although the puffins are vocal at their breeding colonies, they are silent at sea. They fly relatively high above the water, typically 10 m (33 ft) as compared with the 1.6 m (5.2 ft) of other auks.
Puffin breed in colonies on coasts and islands; several current or former island breeding sites are referred to as Puffin Island. The male Atlantic puffin builds the nest and exhibits strong nest-site fidelity. Both sexes of the horned puffin help to construct their nest. Horned puffin burrows are usually about 1 meter (3.3 feet) deep, ending in a chamber, while the tunnel leading to a tufted puffin burrow may be up to 2.75 meters (9.0 feet) long. The nesting substrate of the tufted and Atlantic puffins is soft soil, into which tunnels are dug; in contrast, the nesting sites of horned puffins are rock crevices on cliffs. The Atlantic puffin burrow is usually lined with material such as grass, leaves, and feathers but is occasionally unlined. The eggs of the Atlantic puffin are typically creamy white but the occasional egg is tinged lilac. Where rabbits breed, sometimes Atlantic puffins breed in rabbit burrows.
Puffins form long-term pair bonds or relationships. The female lays a single egg, and both parents incubate the egg and feed the chick. The incubating parent holds the egg against its brood patch with its wings. The chicks fledge at night. After fledging, the chicks spend the first few years of their lives at sea, returning to breed about five years later. Puffins in captivity have been known to breed as early as three years of age.
After breeding, all three puffin species winter at sea, usually far from coasts and often extending south of the breeding range.
Puffins with about 10 million individuals. The largest single puffin colony in the world is in the Westmann Isles of Iceland. In 2009, scientists estimated the number of nests to be 1.1 million, and the number of individuals there is estimated to be up to 4 million.
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