Clown of the Sea | The Atlantic Puffin

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 15:08

Puffins are part of the Auk family of seabirds that also include razorbills and guillemots. They are quite small in size; only 30 cm. in length, weighing 400 gr. with a wingspan of 55 cm. They feed on sandeels, capelin and herring but seem to be decreasing in numbers over the last few years due to the lack of food in the bay caused by increasing water temperatures. They are considered vulnerable on the IUCN world status with major threats being climate change, hunting, over fishing and entanglement in fishing gear to name a few.

They are known for their colourful beaks that has given them the nickname 'clowns of the sea'. Their bill is dull in winter but turns a bright red and orange tone in spring to attract a potential mate. They live at sea for most of their lives only to return to land to breed. They nest in dirt burrows from May to mid July and lay only one egg which has to be incubated over 36-43 days. 

Listen to the puffin's mating call: 

Over half the world’s population of Puffins comes to Iceland to breed - that is around 10.000.000 birds! Iceland also has the largest Atlantic Puffin colony in the world. The Westman Islands in the south has about 700,000 nesting pairs. There are three puffin colonies close to Reykjavik City, which we visit between mid May and August with  roughly 30,000 pairs between them - Akurey, Engey and Lundey islands. Learn more.

Check out the puffin tours we offer.