Atlantic Puffin and its large brightly colored beaks

Within the family of the Fratercula , the Atlantic puffin stands out for its large colorful beak and its legs 'in tune'. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about a wonderful bird.

Habitat of the Atlantic Puffin

Its scientific name is Fratercula artica , but it is known habitually as an Atlantic puffin and, with that name, we can infer where he lives. This is the only one of the puffin family that is native to the Atlantic Ocean.

Specifically we can find it during the breeding season in Norway, Iceland, Greenland , Newfoundland (Canada) and other smaller islands -like Faroe, Shetland and Orkney- of the North Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic puffin colonies have also been found west of the British Isles and east of Maine (United States).

When at sea, the Atlantic puffin may extend into the North Sea. and even reach the arctic circle.

Atlantic puffin behavior and habits at sea

As with most seabirds, the Atlantic puffin spends a large part of the year away from the mainland. That is, it is more likely that we find it in the open sea than in the coasts, where it arrives to nest and raise the chicks.

The puffins are lonely in the sea, where they move in a particular way : they ram with their legs and propel themselves towards the wind. They can spend many hours grooming and spreading a special oil that waterproofs the feathers and insulates them from low temperatures.

As for the puffin diet, it is almost entirely made of fish , but occasionally you can consume shrimp, crustaceans, molluscs or even worms when you are on the coast. You can submerge several meters and swim quickly to get your prey.

Atlantic puffin behavior and habits on Earth

By spring, birds return to Earth, precisely to the colony where they were born , and they are located in subcolonies by 'order of arrival'. This means that those who arrived first will have the best nesting locations.

Atlantic Puffin: reproduction

The puffins are monogamous and every year they meet with the same couple. They form the nest between stones and rocks, and cover them with grass. To protect the eggs, the subcolonies assemble very closed circles that prevent the entry of predators.

The chicks need a little less than two months to develop the feathers (they are born 'naked') and in this period they need a lot of food , which is provided by the female. Meanwhile, the male takes care of and keeps the nest protected.

Appearance of the Atlantic puffin

The upper surface of the Atlantic puffin is darker than the lower one. This is a way to camouflage yourself and prevent predators like the shark from distinguishing them from the bottom of the sea.

One of its main characteristics - which differentiates it from other seabirds and even from its same family - is its wide and colorful peak. On the side it looks triangular and wide, but from above it is thin and narrow. The outer part is red and orange, while the internal part is white or gray.Its webbed feet allow it to move in any medium and, while it is silent in the middle of the ocean, when it is in its burrow it can be noisier. It is an extraordinary bird!