A Puffin on Skelligsrock

Characteristics: An unmistakable black and white seabird with a massive colourful bill. The Puffin’s face is white in the breeding season and the eyes are surrounded by a colourful eye-ring. The large red and yellow bill plates are shed in the Winter and it is then smaller and less colourful.

Habitat and distribution: Breeds in sometimes-huge colonies on grassy cliffs and islands where burrows are excavated. Some nesting material is used and a single egg is laid. More numerous in the far northern colonies but there have been huge decline in some areas.

Habits: Dives for fish. Especially sand eels and can carry several fish at once due to serrated bill. At the breeding colony, large numbers may gather in the evenings outside their burrows then suddenly disappear below ground. In Winter, Puffin’s may be confused with Razorbills.