Puffin against a blue sky (c) Darren Ritson


Puffins are colourful and full of character. Playfully known as 'clowns of the sea' and 'sea parrots', these shy and inquisitive seabirds arrive in Britain at the start of the breeding season. They then undergo their annual moult which renders them flightless for a short while, though they remain nimble and elegant underwater. A single puffin chick is raised in an underground burrow and parent birds are often seen with their parrot-like bills packed full of sand eels, intended for their fast-growing offspring. During winter, puffins disperse as far south as the Azores.

Did you know?
Young puffins are called pufflings.

See a summer’s seabird ‘city’ spectacular.
All you need to know about British birds.

Scientific name: Fratercula arctica

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Atlantic puffin,
  • Common puffin

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The Puffin can be found in a number of locations including: Arctic, Europe, North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Puffin distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Shorebirds
  6. Auks
  7. Fratercula
  8. Puffin

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