Puffin Facts

Here I’m going to share interesting facts about puffins, including short videos showing puffin behaviour. If you’d like to see the answer to a specific question about puffins (and other seabirds) appear here please comment below!

(Page in construction, more facts will appear over time!)

Short videos of puffin behaviour
As part of a research project on the feeding ecology of puffins, in 2017 and 2018 I deployed lots of camera traps on puffin colonies in Wales, Iceland and Norway. The cameras collected lots of videos of puffin behaviour, the best of which I have published on Twitter in November 2020 with the hashtag #OnePuffinADay. All the videos are now compiled in one thread – check them out here to get a glimpse into puffins’ lives at their colony! 

How long do puffins live?
On average puffins live for about 25 years, but the oldest bird known was 41 years old (it was found in Norway).

How fast can puffins fly?
The record flight speed recorded was 94 km/h (58 mph)! However this was probably in very favourable wind conditions and could not be sustained for a long time. In my studies tracking puffins during foraging trips, I found that they were flying on average at 38km/h (24mph), which is still pretty fast!

How many species of puffins are there?
There are three puffin species, grouped together in the genus Fratercula: the Atlantic puffin, which is the species I study, lives only in the North Atlantic Ocean. In the North Pacific, you can find tufted puffins and horned puffins. Rhinoceros auklets are very closely related to puffins and are sometimes grouped with them.

What is a puffling?
A puffling is the name of a baby puffin! After they hatch, pufflings will spend the first ~ six weeks of of their lives in the safety of their nest, which is in an underground burrow (or sometime in a rock crevice), away from predators. The parents will bring it fresh fish to eat several times a day – a sure sign that a puffin has a chick is that it brings back fish to its nest. Initially the puffling is a tiny ball of black fluff, but it soon grows larger and starts growing feathers. By the time it is ready to leave the nest, it is covered in plumage like its parents, but it is smaller and doesn’t have the bright colourful beak yet, and its legs are also grey instead of orange.

1 thought on “Puffin Facts

  1. I am very impressed with the research you have done and still.


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