The Arctic

Puffins (aka Fratercula)

My IUCN status: Least concern (except for Atlantic puffins, which are considered vulnerable) 

About Me

I’ve got one of the flashiest beaks out there! Check out its bright color. Believe it or not, it’s only that vibrant in the warmer summer monthsthat’s because I’m trying to show off for breeding season. The brighter and larger the beak, the better I look to all the potential mates out there. After I find the perfect match, my beak will fade to a duller color for the winter months.

I’m totally committed to my family. Like many puffins, I keep the same mate every year, and dedicate a lot of time to making sure my family is happy and healthy! Puffins only lay one egg per year, and both moms and dads take responsibility for raising their babies. As a dad, I think I’m a shoo-in for the Father of the Year award!

Did You Know?

My nicknames include “sea parrot” and “clown of the sea.” The latter comes from my brightly-colored beak, but I also like to think it represents my excellent sense of humor.


I love to flyand I’m good at it, too! I can flap my wings up to 400 beats per minute, reaching speeds of 55 mph. Not to brag, but I’m a pretty great swimmer too. I can dive 200 feet below the ocean surface and flap my wings like I’m flying underwater. I use my large, orange feet to steer so I can hunt for fish. 

I’m pretty picky about my home. I have a burrow that my mate and I return to every year that I line with grasses, seaweed and feathers to make it extra cozy. 

Fast Facts

Members of my family: Atlantic Puffin (vulnerable), Horned Puffin (least concern), Tufted Puffin (least concern), and Rhinoceros Auklet (least concern) 

How long I live: Up to 20 years

Where I like to hang out: I spend most of my time out in open water, but gather with other puffins near coasts when it’s time to breed. 

Where I live: My family and I are mostly found in the Arctic and sub-Arctic but, depending on the season, we can also be found in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

What I like to eat: Small fish, such as sand eels, herring, hake and capelin

Get to Know Me



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