Atlantic puffin Facts

Atlantic puffin Facts
Atlantic puffin is a bird that looks like a close relative of penguins even though they are not genetically related. These birds can be found in the eastern parts of Canada, northern parts of United States, western parts of Europe and northern Russia. 60% of all Atlantic puffins live near the Iceland. Atlantic puffins spend majority of their life on the sea, with short breaks (during breeding season) on the coast. Population of Atlantic puffins is large, composed of nearly 6 million birds. They are not considered endangered. However, global warming, overfishing, oil spills and hunting decrease the number of Atlantic puffins in the wild.
Interesting Atlantic puffin Facts:
Atlantic puffin is a small bird. It weighs 17.5 ounces and can reach 10 inches in length. Males are slightly bigger than females.
Body of Atlantic puffin is covered with black and white plumage. In the past, feathers of Atlantic puffins were used for decoration of hats.
Atlantic puffins have very large and colorful beaks (combination of red, yellow and blue colors). Because of their beaks, Atlantic puffins are also known as "sea parrots" or "clowns of the sea".
Color of the beak changes seasonally. It is pale during the winter and more colorful during the spring, when mating season starts. Birds become more attractive to the opposite sex when their beaks are brightly colored.
Upper part of the beak has layer of spines designed to hold the fish. Thanks to this feature, parents can deliver more than one fish to their chick in the nest.
Atlantic puffin feeds on fish. It hunts sand eels and herrings.
Atlantic puffin is an excellent swimmer. Its webbed feet and strong wings allow fast and precise movement through the water. It can dive 200 feet deep and remain submerged for up to one minute.
Atlantic puffin is also very fast flyer. It can reach the speed of 55 miles per hour by flapping its wings 400 times per minute.
Main predators of Atlantic puffins are black-billed gull and herring gull.
Atlantic puffins spend majority of their lifetime on the sea. They come to the coast only once per year to reproduce.
Mating season takes place from April to August. During this period, large colonies of Atlantic puffins gather in their home grounds.
Atlantic puffins mate for life. They build burrow in the rocky cliffs or on the solid ground between rocks. Burrows are located 3 feet underground.
Female lays one egg. Incubation period lasts 42 days. Both parents take care of the chick.
Young chicks learn to fly 45 days after birth. They will fly to the open sea and stay there until they become sexually mature, at the age of 3 to 5 years.
Atlantic puffins can survive up to 20 years in the wild.

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