Puffins- Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - Puffins - Hebridean Birds Sightings.

Puffins are striking looking birds with their deep triangular bill, patterned blue grey, orange, yellow and red, The puffins are stocky, short-winged and short-tailed birds.

Although the puffins are vocal at their breeding colonies, they are silent at sea. Puffins form long-term pair bonds or relationships
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Bird Overview - Puffin
Family
Alcidae (awks)
Latin name
Fratercula arctica

 Population
With half of the UK population at only a few sites it is an Amber List species.


Similar Species
Little Auk
Razorbill
Guillemot
Description

Puffins are striking looking birds with their deep triangular bill, patterned blue grey, orange, yellow and red, The puffins are stocky, short-winged and short-tailed birds. They have a dark eye and disc like grey white to the sides of the faces, black underparts and neck with a white underside. In the summer the legs are a really vivid orange, in the winter the adults have a more dusky grey face - as have juveniles. .



Size
Length 26 - 29cm, weight is 11 - 18oz
Habitat
Coasts and islands where there are grassy slopes sometimes

Food
This birds dive from the water surface to catch fish and squid. Puffins are distinct in their ability to hold several (sometimes over a dozen) small fish at a time, crosswise in their bill, rather than regurgitating swallowed fish - especially sand eels
Voice
At the nest the puffin makes a cooing growl, aaarr, karr,oo,arr

Breeding
Puffins form long-term pair bonds or relationships. These birds , the puffins require quite a bit of earth as they burrow or have cavities in the rocks.

The female lays a single egg, and both parents incubate the egg and feed the chick . They occupy ready made burrows, or find their cavities between boulders. They have one egg - and just the one brood between May - June.


After fledging, the chicks spend the first few years of their lives at sea, returning to breed about five years later

Misc. Info

The grooves on the bill increase with age.

THeir lifespan is ten to twenty years. They shed the colourful outer parts of their bills after the breeding season, leaving a smaller and duller beak. Although the puffins are vocal at their breeding colonies, they are silent at sea
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