Puffin

Irish Name: Puifín
Scientific name: Fratercula arctica
Bird Family: Auks
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Conservation status

Status

Summer visitor from March to September to sea stacks and cliffs, mainly along the west coast of Ireland.

Identification

The smallest species of Auk in Ireland, a highly marine species which is only found on land in the breeding season. A black and white seabird, with black above and white below. In the breeding season the parrot like multi-coloured bill and large white patch on the face make adults distinctive and easily recognisable at close quarters. The bill is smaller on the adult in winter and much smaller on the juvenile. At a distance can be told from Guillemot by its small size, thicker body, larger, heavier head and darker underwing.

Voice

Deep grunting, mainly from the burrow.

Diet

Marine fish and crustaceans.

Breeding

Attends colonies from April and early August. Nests in colonies in burrows, or sometimes in boulder screes and in cracks in steep cliffs, rather like Razorbills and Black Guillemots. Will utilize rabbit burrows and will evict rabbits. Usually nests in areas that are safe from mammalian predators, for which reason it prefers off- shore islands.

Wintering

Winters far out to sea and not often seen outside of the breeding season.

Monitored by

Breeding seabirds are monitored through surveys carried out every 15-20 years, the last was Seabird 2000, which was undertaken between 1998 & 2002.

Similar Species

Guillemot

Irish Name:
Foracha
Scientific name:
Uria aalge
Bird Family:
Auks

Razorbill

Irish Name:
Crosán
Scientific name:
Alca torda
Bird Family:
Auks