The Atlantic puffin, the story of the bird that lives up to 30 years

They are smaller than a teapot, approximately 25.4 cm and weigh a little more than a pound. It is an exemplary species with a decreasing population.


El frailecillo Atlantico la historia del ave que vive hasta los 30 anos Saga Nature Saga Animals Saga Creativa Ecuador 3


On the coasts and islands of the North Atlantic, flying birds parade a similar color to that of a penguin but with a striking orange beak. They are known as sea parrots, they are puffins, the species that lives most of its life on the ocean.

Spring or summer, these are the only seasons when they will step on land; it is the time when they look for a place to form breeding colonies and, as every year, 80% of the 4 million pairs seem to find in Iceland the ideal place to build their nests with feathers and herbs on the rocky cliffs of the country .

Once on land, and with the nest built, the female lays only one egg. Dad and mom take turns incubating it and also feeding it once the newborn arrives. When one is with the chick, the other is in the air, looking for prey in the seas and heading towards them in a dive to hunt them, beating its wings up to 400 times per minute and reaching 88 km / hr. When they enter the water they manage to dive to a depth of 60 meters, holding their breath for 20 to 30 seconds and trapping up to 20 small fish in their beak. This exercise is repeated 8 times a day.


El frailecillo Atlantico la historia del ave que vive hasta los 30 anos Saga Nature Saga Animals Saga Creativa Ecuador 4
Source: © Bill Boswell


Puffin couples often meet at the same burrow site every year. It is not known with certainty how they return to their places of origin. It is believed that they use visual reference points, smells, sounds, the Earth’s magnetic fields, or maybe even use the stars as a navigation system.

Although today its population is relatively high, their numbers are decreasing. They are scarce in areas where they once abounded. They are not in danger of extinction, but human activities, such as overfishing are threatening it and have caused disasters. For example, in the puffin colony on the island of Rost in Norway, the parents of the chicks did not find enough fish to feed their young which caused thousands of birds to starve. Like many other species, they’re suffering the consequences of a world where there are more and more people.