The puffin's distinctive bill has given it the nicknames of 'sea parrot' and 'bottle nose'. Although it looks a bit like a penguin or a parrot, it is actually related to the auk family - its close, larger relatives being razorbills and guillemots.

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Puffin Habits

Daily Life: for most of the year, when not breeding, puffins are to be found bobbing about on the waters of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, often hundreds of kilometres from land. They are found mostly singly or in pairs. The puffin is perfectly adapted to a marine environment; it keeps its feathers waterproof by applying oil, from a gland near its tail, as it preens. To catch food, the puffin dives from the water's surface, using its wings like paddles to 'fly' down to great depths to catch sand eels or other fish. Underwater, a puffin looks to be swimming in a silvery air bubble because the air in the feathers is partly forced out.

The puffin's large beak and mouth has backward pointing spikes which enable it to catch as many as ten small fish one after the other, without swallowing them, and hold them crosswise. In winter the face is darker and the bill rather dull in colour, but they become more colourful in the spring in preparation for the mating season.

 

Read More: Puffins and Humans

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