Tufted puffin

Try as you might, you will never find a hairstyle better than this bird’s

Alan D. Wilson

With its distinctive black body and striking tufts of feathers extending from its head during the breeding season, it stands out among its puffin relatives. Unlike the Atlantic and horned puffins, which boast colorful bills, the Tufted Puffin sports a robust black bill that is large and laterally compressed—a feature shared by all puffin species.

Found along rocky shores and offshore islands, the Tufted Puffin is a seabird that prefers to breed on the summits of islands or coastal slopes. Unlike its counterparts, it tends to avoid nesting on the cliffs along the shore, instead favoring elevated locations that offer protection from predators and access to prime foraging grounds.

During the winter months, the Tufted Puffin typically spends much of its time offshore, venturing into the oceanic zone beyond the continental shelf’s edge and even into mid-oceanic waters. This pelagic lifestyle reflects its adaptability to a wide range of marine habitats, where it can exploit diverse food sources.

Speaking of food, the Tufted Puffin is a versatile predator that preys on a variety of small fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans throughout the year. Its diet consists primarily of tiny fish, which it captures using its agile bill and powerful diving abilities. During the breeding season, adults forage in the vicinity of the colony, returning with a bounty of fish to feed their hungry chicks.

Nesting colonies of Tufted Puffins are bustling hubs of activity during the breeding season, with adults engaged in courtship displays, nest-building, and chick-rearing duties. Chicks are raised on a diet consisting exclusively of small fish, which are regurgitated by the parents to ensure the young birds receive the essential nutrients they need for growth and development.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Canada
2020
Japan
2020
Korea
2020
Non-Breeding
North Korea
2020
Non-Breeding
Russia
2020
Eastern Asian Russia
United States
2020

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No