17 Puffin Facts for Kids
Puffins. These interesting creatures are a type of small bird best known for their brightly colored beaks that appear during their breeding seasons. Sea birds by nature, they’re mainly found in places where land and water co-exist. Several different species of puffins exist, the most well-known being the Atlantic puffin.
Puffins Facts for Kids ~ All About The Puffin
How They Look
1. Puffins are known as the ‘clowns of the sea’ – they have large, bright colored beaks on their small heads. Their feathers are deep black and white, giving them the impression of looking quite clownish.
2. Some consider them related to penguins—but, they’re not actually cousins of their fellow bird.
3. Puffins, specifically the Atlantic puffin, typically measure about 10 inches long (about 25 centimeters).
4. Puffin feet and bills fade during the winter season and brighten during the spring, lasting throughout mating season.
Where They Live
5. Atlantic puffins live nearby the open ocean – close to land and coast lines where they have access to plenty of resources.
6. Puffins live anywhere ranging from the eastern coast of Canada to the northern United States and are all the way on the west coast of Europe. They also reside throughout some parts of northern Russia.
7. As much as 60 percent of the world’s puffin populations live in nearby Iceland.
How They Live
8. Puffins are meant to live on the open ocean. Their feathers are waterproof, meaning they allow them to stay warm as they float along the sea’s surface or while diving under water.
9. Speaking of diving—puffins can dive as deep as 200 feet (or 60 meters) into the ocean. They swim by flapping their wings as if in flight, while using their feet to move around.
10. Puffins love to hunt and eat sand eels, capelin, hake and herring. They also drink saltwater.
11. Atlantic puffins also love to fly in the sky. They’re known to flap their wings as fast as 400 beats a minute and can reach speeds of 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers per hour) when in flight.
12. Puffins mate for life as soon as they reach 3 to 5 years old. It’s said that their colorful feet and beaks help each other choose a mate.
13. Puffins begin breeding season as early as April and finish up by mid-August.
14. Puffins create burrows to live and raise their young. Puffin couples typically return to the same burrow each year.
15. Both puffin parents take turns incubating their egg for around 40 days. They also keep taking turns feeding and raising their chick.
16. Puffin chicks spend as long as 45 days living in the burrow before they leave. Then, they spend at least 3 to 5 years living at sea before they choose a mate of their own.
17. Puffins live at least 20 years in the wild. Their natural predators are the great black-backed gull and, sometimes, herring gulls.