Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) is a medium-sized pelagic seabird about 30 cm in length and weighing about three quarters of a kilogram. It mostly black with a white belly and facial patch, and a very large bill. The yellow tufts for which it is named are on the side of the head when the bird is in breeding plumage.
Tufted Puffins can be found throughout the northern Pacific Ocean. Originally, this bird nested as far south as southern California; some colonies still remain off northern California. Their diet is almost exclusively fish, which they catch by diving from the surface.
Most birds spend winter far out to sea.
Breeding and reproduction
Breeding takes place on isolated islands: over 25,000 pairs have been recorded in a single colony off the coast of British Columbia. The nest is usually a simple burrow dug with the bill and feet, but sometimes a crevice between rocks is used instead. It is well-lined with vegetation and feathers. A single egg is laid, usually in June, and incubated by both parents for about 45 days. Fledglings leave the nest at between 40 and 55 days.
Feeding areas can be located far offshore from the nesting areas.
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