Atlantic puffins have a distinctive large, triangular red-orange bill with a blue-gray base and yellow ridge. The top of a puffin’s head, neck, back and wings are black, while its cheeks are pale gray and underparts white. Puffins have bright orange legs and webbed feet. They are adept swimmers.
Puffins vs. Penguins
Native to the Northern Hemisphere,
puffins are adept at both swimming and flying!
Native to the Southern Hemisphere,
penguins have evolved to swim, not fly.
The mix-up is understandable—both puffins and penguins are black-and-white sea birds, have an upright posture and are good swimmers. They both have names that start with "p" and end with "n." But, the similarities between them pretty much end there.
Did You Know?
Puffins are sometimes called the "parrots of the sea."
Atlantic puffins eat several types of fish as well as zooplankton (euphausiids, mysids and copepods). At the Aquarium, they are fed capelin and silversides.
Atlantic puffins are typically about 12 inches tall.
Atlantic puffins inhabit a geographic range from the coast of New England to Iceland and the British Isles. They spend most of their lives at sea but return to land to breed, with about 60 percent of the world’s population nesting in Iceland.
Atlantic puffins are threatened by certain human activities and are rare in areas where they were once abundant.
The great black-backed gull is a natural predator of the Atlantic puffin. Introduced predators include foxes and rats.
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