The Daily Species #18:
Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
This bird is a seabird species in the auk family. It is a pelagic bird that feeds primarily by diving for fish, but also eats other sea creatures, such as squid and crustaceans. Its most obvious characteristic during the breeding season is its brightly colored bill. The scientific name comes from the Medieval Latin fratercula - friar, and arctic - northern.
Also known as the Common Puffin, it is the only puffin species which is found in the Atlantic Ocean. The curious appearance of the bird, with its large colorful bill and its striking piebald plumage, has given rise to nicknames such as ‘“clown of the ocean” and “sea parrot”. This species breeds on the coasts of northern Europe, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and eastern North America, from well within the Arctic Circle to northern France and Maine. The winter months are spent at sea far from land - in Europe as far south as the Mediterranean, and in North America to North Carolina.