Fratercula arctica - Atlantic puffin:

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Summary Information
Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Laridae / Fratercula / Species

This section is currently predominantly used in Wildpro to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. Although it identifies that taxonomic interrelationships of species (see "header") it does not currently contain detailed information on the bird species itself. As Wildpro is developed, we will gradually convert these pages into full Species pages.

The taxonomy of birds is still under review and the A World Checklist of Birds by Burt L. Monroe, Jr and Charles G. Sibley (B89) has been chosen as the primary reference. The taxonomic structure will be amended when new editions or complete references are identified by the scientific world as the recognized primary references for taxonomy.

Alternative Names
Distribution North-eastern North America to north-western Palaearctic; winters to north-western Mexico. (B89)
  • Breeding - "Coastal islands and cliffs." (B163); colonial, on steep grassy slopes beside coastal cliffs. (B164)
  • Winter - Further out to sea than other alcids. (B164)
Further Information Appearance:
  • Length: 28-34 cm (B164)
  • Wingspan: 50-60 cm (B164)
  • Bill: Very large, deep, colourful parrot-like bill. (B164)
  • Eyes: grey, with surrounding orange. (B164)
  • Feet and legs: Orange. (B164)
  • Plumage: Basically black above and white below, with pale cheek patches and a wide black neck ring. Tail short. (B164)
  • Adult in summer: 
    • Head very black over top of head, but large white cheek patches, with narrow black line trailing back from eye and a short black line upward from the eye. Dorsal black. Ventral white, with darker feathers over the thigh; underwing dusky. (B17, B164)
  • Adult in winter:
    • Similar to summer but cheek patches dusky grey. (B164)


  • food - mainly fish; aquatic invertebrates
  • feeding behaviour - mainly surface dives.


  • location and structure - in colonies; uses mainly burrows, also crevices
  • nest building - male and female
  • breeding structure - monogamous


  • markings - usually unpatterned; sometimes marked brown
  • number of eggs - 1 (2?)
  • broods - 1 brood
  • incubation - May be both parents but female more than male.


  • development - Semi-altricial; downy; eyes open at hatching
  • parental caring for young - by male and female

(B163, B164)

Organisations (UK Contacts):

Electronic Library (further reading):

General Legislation:

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Individual techniques:

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