Puffins

These are the loveable little sea birds that can be found in many wild places around the UK and can also be seen off the coast of Mull and the Treshnish Isles.

The photos here are of Atlantic Puffins (Fratacula arctica) though Tufted and Horned Puffins also exist but these are generally found in Pacific waters.

Puffins are members of the auk family and are stocky, short-winged and short-tailed birds, with a black upper body and white or brownish-grey breast and belly. The head has a black cap, the face is mainly white, and the feet are orange-red. The bill appears large and colourful during the breeding season. The colourful outer part of the bill is shed after the breeding season, revealing a smaller and duller true bill beneath.

Puffins are generally famed for holding up to a dozen Sand Eels in their mouths made possible by the unique hinging mechanism of their beak, which allows the upper and lower biting edges to meet at any of a number of angles.

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