Five Fun Facts About the Atlantic Puffin

1. Puffins can carry huge amounts of fish in their beaks

Puffins have adaptations in their beaks that help them carry large numbers of fish.  A ridge in the roof of their mouth can secure fish in place while they continue to fish without losing the fish they’ve already caught. The added benefit of this adaptation is that it allows puffins to go on longer trips and catch more fish. The average puffin catch is around 10 fish, but some have caught up to 60 fish.


Puffins can dive as deep as 60 m (200 feet),  though they only stay underwater for 20 or 30 seconds. They are excellent swimmers,  flapping their wings to stroke underwater as if they were flying. Puffins have webbed feet, which they use to steer when swimming and diving. 

3. Puffins are specially adapted to spend months at sea while living on the Atlantic Ocean

Their two-tone color provides camouflage from predators while floating on the sea. The black feathers on their backs make them difficult to spot from above and the white plumage on their belly helps to conceal them from predators swimming beneath them.

4. A colourful beak shows the male puffin is a healthy, well fed bird

The Puffin’s colourful beak is an adaptation that makes it more appealing to the female puffin, as during the winter its colour fades but during mating season it becomes colourful and bright once again. 

5. Atlantic Puffins mate for life

Puffins are exceptionally monogamous for the bird world. They live for around 20 years, so having one mate for life is an impressive commitment for a puffin.