Animals of the world, Atlantic Puffins

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  • It is the only puffin native to the Atlantic Ocean; two related species, the tufted puffin and the horned puffin, are found in the northeastern Pacific. The Atlantic puffin breeds in Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Newfoundland, and the Faroe Islands, and as far south as Maine in the west and the west coast of Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom in the east
  • It is about 30 cm (12 inches) long, black above, white below, with grey face plumage, red-orange feet, and a tall, flattened, brightly-coloured bill
  • Puffins only possess coloured bills—and their matching orange feet—during the spring breeding season. Just before winter sets in, they shed the colourful outer beak, leaving a noticeably smaller and duller-coloured beak. The birds develop their brighter colours once again during the spring.
  • Puffins nest in large colonies on the seaside and island cliffs, usually laying only one egg, in a burrow dug one or two metres (three to six feet) deep.
  • These birds live most of their lives at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming
  • While at sea, the birds spread out widely across the North Atlantic Ocean. Each bird has more than a square kilometre of itself
  • The Atlantic puffin diet consists almost entirely of fish, though examination of its stomach contents shows that it occasionally eats shrimp, other crustaceans, molluscs and polychaete worms. When fishing, it swims underwater using its semi-extended wings as paddles to “fly” through the water and its feet as a rudder
  • The reason for why they need to flap their wings so fast when flying is because their bones are not hollow so they are heavier than other birds. This is the reason why they can dive down as far as they do
  • The Atlantic puffin has a direct flight, typically 10 metres (33 ft) above the sea surface and higher over the water than most other auks.
  • Like many seabirds, the Atlantic Puffin is long-lived, averaging 30 plus years

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