Atlantic Puffin

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The pigeon-sized Atlantic Puffin is one of America’s most unusual looking birds. Almost half penguin, half toucan, the puffin is black above and white below, with a large orange and gray bill and white face. Makes and females are similar, though males are slightly larger. The Atlantic Puffin has bright red webbed feet. Puffins are known as “Sea Parrots” and “Clowns of the Sea” in some areas because of their multi-colored bills. Puffins are rarely heard vocalizing. It is the privinical bird of Labrador and Newfoundland.

The Atlantic Puffin, much like other sea birds, nests in large colonies. Male puffins build the burrow-like nest on the edge of a grassy cliff or amongst the rocks. The female produces a single egg, which she incubates for 39-45 days. Both parents take care of the youngster, which leaves the nest after seven weeks.


Purple Martins consume large amounts of insects in flight. They also get their water from skimming over the surface of a pond, lake, or river.


The Atlantic Puffin breeds along the north Atlantic coast on rocky cliffs and shorelines throughout higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. It spends most of the year in the ocean, coming ashore only to breed. In America, breeding populations are limited to coastal Maine. It is the only species of Puffin found in the Atlantic Ocean.


Today, the Atlantic Puffin is common and widespread, though it was hunted extensively in the 1800’s. Like may sea birds, it is extremely vulnerable to oil spills, pollution, and predation by Greater Black-backed Gulls, rats, cats, and foxes.