PUFFIN (Fratercula arctica)
The colourful Puffin seen around the Scottish coast is the “Atlantic Puffin” and belongs to the Auk family. They also spend much of the time at sea and return to Scotland’s coast in the summer to breed. Known also as “sea parrots” or “clowns of the sea” they arrive at colonies for breeding from around beginning of April to end of July.
They build their nest in a burrow. Where they normally lay a single egg. The young are fed mainly sand eels prior to leaving the burrow towards the end of July. Also the young Puffins, known as Puffling, remain in the burrow for an extended period. They then leave the burrow and head straight to the water.
The attraction of the Puffin is the unique combination of appearance and behaviour. For instance the huge brightly coloured bill filled with sand eel. Also the antics of a breeding pair greeting with tapping bills when they meet. This combination make the bird everyone’s favourite.
You can find Sea Parrots in locations around the Scottish coast and on off shore on some UK Islands.
In recent years Puffin numbers have declined significantly in many areas. Consequently they are now a red listed threatened species.
Further information on where to see these colourful birds can be found here.