Fun Puffin Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Here are some Puffin facts for you to look at

A Puffin is a type of bird that looks like a penguin but is not. They are black and white-colored with a characteristic colorful beak that is big, triangular, and brightly colored.

Puffins are very commonly found in the Atlantic and Arctic south that is among the three species of small alcids.

Puffins are very commonly also regarded by various different names including Atlantic Puffin and sea parrot. Puffins are also known as clowns of the sea and sea parrots.

There are four species of Puffin bird out of which three look similar while the fourth one, rhinoceros auklet, looks very different to the others.

The preferred diet for these birds is small fish, which they can easily eat as their beaks allows them to hold several fish species at once in their beak. Puffin bird species likes to live in huge groups known as colonies which are focused around various islands as it allows these birds to catch fish for the diet.

Tufted Puffin create their nests in burrows that can go up to one m deep where the female lays one egg every breeding cycle. Both parents take care of the eggs till the chicks hatch.

Puffins look for their mate within the colony and once chose, the Puffin will stay with the same bird for its entire lifetime. Their preferred nesting sites include cliffs, islands, or between rocks.

Nesting sites in the form of burrows offers them significant protection from predators. Puffins take care of their chick over the summer and eventually return to the same burrow the next year for nesting.

In this article, we will be reading some interesting facts about the Puffin seabirds and getting to know the type of animals that they are. To know more facts about other birds, please also look at birds of paradise facts and tawny owl facts.

Puffin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Puffin?

A tufted Puffin or an Atlantic Puffin is a kind of pelagic seabird or, in simple words a bird. They greatly resemble penguins but are not related and are broadly classified as birds with characteristics that differentiate them from penguins.

What class of animal does a Puffin belong to?

A Puffin belongs to the class of birds and is known by a variety of names throughout the world. These birds prefer to live in colony where they dig their burrow for nesting and live with many other birds of the same species. Their preferred habitat is burrowing between rocks on cliffs which offers then protection from predators.  

How many Puffins are there in the world?

Puffins are northern seabirds also known or referred to as sea parrots or clowns of the sea. It is practically not possible to calculate the number of Puffins that are there in the world, but they are believed to be many and near extinction. Their huge beaks, also known as a bill, are considered as their most interesting feature.

Where does a Puffin live?

Puffins are very much adapted to the ocean and sea where they are known to spend most of the time of their lives. Puffins spend most of their life at sea and North Atlantic ocean.

Atlantic Puffins prefer open ocean or sea to which they have specially adapted characteristic features. Puffins swim on water by flapping their wings as if they are flying on water.

What is a Puffin's habitat?

Puffins are found both in the open ocean and sea where Puffins spend most of their lives. They are very commonly found in the Northern hemisphere from the Northern United States and Eastern coast of America to northern Russia and the western coast of Europe.

Almost more than half, around 60% of the Puffin population, is found in or around Iceland. Puffins are found in the sea and coastal regions of the Northern hemisphere and are spread around various areas of the same.

There are around eight isles around the world that are known as Puffin island. They prefer islands and areas with abundance of fish for their diet.

Who do Puffin live with?

Puffins may live in a Puffin colony where they gather during the breeding season, lay eggs and come on land especially with their partners or mates. A single Puffin colony is known to have almost around two million individuals as they are very sociable, and they form immense Puffin colonies.

Puffin  colonies are also called puffinry, circus, gathering, or burrow.

How long does a Puffin live?

Atlantic Puffins may live up to the age of 20 years, but they are also believed to survive up to 30 years in the wild as well as in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Puffins breed during the breeding season which starts from April and goes on till mid-August.

During spring and summer, thousands of Puffins gather in breeding colonies on the coasts and islands of the North Atlantic Ocean to breed. Atlantic Puffins are known to achieve their sexual maturity at the age of 3-5 years when they seek potential mates who become their partners for life.

The female lays one egg every year in the nest that are formed by them below the ground, and both parents take care of incubating the egg.

The parents raise the chick over the course of summer and during the next breeding season return to the same burrow for nesting. These Atlantic Puffins dig their burrows with help of their beaks and fee.

Puffins prefer to create their burrows of around 1 m in depth between rocks or on earth, where they are safe from predators.

What is their conservation status?

Although IUCN  has given the Atlantic Puffins the least concern their population has been decreasing due to a number of factors. Various factors like global warming, overfishing, and oil spills pose a major threat and endanger the lives of Puffins out there.

It is estimated that roughly there are around six million Puffins alive today. It is interesting to note that presently there are eight isles around the world that have been named Puffin island.

These seabirds can be found in different locations as they are comfortable in all types of season including summer, winter or spring. Cliffs of Moher on the Irish coast have been designated a protected area for this breed of seabirds.

Puffin Fun Facts

What do Puffin look like?

Puffins are small size birds. They have great adaptations in their body, which helps them keep warm in cold climatic conditions of their habitat.

Their plumage or feathers are specially formed and adapted with thick black and white coats to keep them warm. The necks, backs, and wings of the Puffin are black, whereas their underparts and feathers near their face are white.

One of the striking features of these Puffins is their feet and legs that are dull yellow in color during winter but change to bright orange during the breeding season that helps them to find their partners.

Puffins are brightly colored during the breeding season, whereas their colors become dull during winters when they shed. Their beaks are flat, triangular-shaped having characteristic bright colors.

A Puffin has black wings and looks like a penguin.

How cute are they?

Puffins are really cute creatures suited to live in colder climatic conditions and moist or tropical regions. The chicks also look equally cute and make for good pets. This breed is known for the huge beak, also known as its bill, which can hold up to 10 small fishes.  

How do they communicate?

Puffins are otherwise silent creatures and usually use body language such as moving their bodies, heads, or eyes differently to communicate with one another in different situations. But they make pig-like grunting noises to attract their partners, such as males do to attract females.

They are also known to cause weird growling sounds similar to that of toy chainsaws in their breeding burrows.

How big is a Puffin?

A Puffin weighs around 0.81-1.06 lb and has a height of around 11-12.6 in. They are relatively small birds that are almost half the size of normal penguins and are almost 10 times the size of a rat.

How fast can a Puffin fly?

Puffins are extremely gifted with their flying abilities. They are excellent fliers and have the ability to flap their wings at a rate of 400 beats per minute which helps them to fly at a speed of approximately 88 km/hr, around 55 mph.

How much does a Puffin weigh?

A Puffin weighs around 0.81-1.06 lb. Both males and females are really identical but males can be differentiated as they are bigger in size than females when they are in pairs.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to male and female species of Puffins. A Puffin is generally regarded as male Puffin and female Puffin. Both the sexes of Puffin are almost identical, but the males are bigger than their partners and have significantly deeper and larger bills than their partner females.

What would you call a baby Puffin?

The young ones or babies of Puffins are regarded as chicks. A Puffin lays one egg every year and takes care the chick after hatching until the baby learns to find food and mate on its own.

What do they eat?

Puffins are believed to be omnivores, whereas their diet is mostly carnivorous. They hunt fishes, sand eels, caprine, herring, hake, sprat, and many more small creatures. The Puffin’s favorite food that they like to eat are fishes which they can hold multiple at a time in their beak.

Are they dangerous?

No, Puffins are far from being dangerous and are known to be very sociable creatures that live in large colonies. They are not aggressive. Rather they are preyed upon by various different birds and animals as their food.

Would they make a good pet?

Puffins are small birds that are nowhere near being aggressive or dangerous. They are loved by everyone and are one of the greatest tourist attractions. Puffins are generally not considered suitable as pets, and they have been banned as pets in many countries too in order to save their population.

Did you know...

Puffins are specially adapted to live in the ocean and sea, which is marked by their waterproof feathers, which help them keep themselves warm while swimming on the ocean surface or underwater.

Puffins or Atlantic Puffins supplement their meals through the saltwater that they drink.

A Puffin also has the ability to dive as deep as 200 feet which is around 60 m, by flapping its wings and using its feet to steer underwater.

Puffins are even hunted to this day for their meat and eggs.

Is a Puffin a penguin?

Although they share quite a resemblance to penguins and similar characteristics, they are two distinctive birds. Puffins come from a family of Alcidae, and penguins come from Spheniscidae.

Penguins are known to dive deep into the ocean with high speed and that to 1,850 feet deep. Puffins are also seen diving into the ocean for food, but they can’t dive the way a penguin does.

How many fish can a Puffin hold in its beak?

Puffin's beak is definitely known for the ability to hold multiple small fish species at once. They can hold several small fish at once by pushing the fish at the back of their mouth with their tongue while the ridges on the top of their mouth secure the fish in place.

This way, the Puffin's beak has the capacity to hold up to 10 fishes at once by keeping their mouth open and allowing them to catch more fishes without losing any that are trapped in their mouth.

However, they can catch smaller fishes or eels and up to 30 at once. The largest recorded to date is 62 stuffed fishes in its mouth.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including secretary bird, or great green macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Puffin coloring pages.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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