After the last two disturbing articles, I thought I’d write one that is on the adorable side. Puffins are Iceland’s most revered bird. They are also quite the tourist attraction to boot. They have also been observed using tools. Puffins are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Read more about these beautiful and fun birds. Don’t forget to comment below!
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Fratercula
Length: Horned puffin: 13 inches
Weight: Atlantic puffin: 1.1 lbs., Tufted puffin: 1.5 – 1.9 lbs., Horned puffin: 1.3 – 1.4 lbs.
Lifespan: Up to 20 years (in the wild)
Now on to the Facts!
1.) There are four types of puffins. Three of the puffin species look like your standard puffin. One, called a rhinoceros auklet, doesn’t look much like a puffin at all, but technically still is.
2.) A puffin weighs about as much as a can of soda!
3.) Just before winter sets in, puffins shed their colorful outer bill, leaving a behind a smaller and duller beak.
4.) A puffin can fly up to 55 mph!
5.) Puffins lay one egg per year. Like some penguins, both parents will take turns incubating their egg and caring for the chick, when it hatches. Puffins mate for life! Puffin chicks are called pufflings. How cute is that?
But wait, there’s more puffins!
6.) Around 60% of the world’s population of puffins breeds in Iceland.
7.) The puffin’s raspy tongues and spiny palates allow them to grab and hold 10 to 12 fish during one trip.
Did you know…?
The name, Fratercula, is derived from the Latin word for “little brother”. The name relates to the bird’s black and white plumage, which was said to look like the robes that monks wore.
8.) Puffins spend most of their lives out at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming.
9.) The puffin struggles to get in the air, beating its wings 300 – 400 times a minute just to stay in flight! They also have trouble landing, often crashing into the water or rolling onto the grass, tumbling into any other puffins that may be in their way.
10.) Puffins use their wings to sort of fly underwater while using their feet to control their direction. Puffins are incredible divers and can reach depths of 180 feet on their way to look for food.