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common name for a diving bird of the family Alcidae (aukauk
, common name for a member of the family Alcidae (alcid family), swimming and diving birds of the N Atlantic and Pacific, which includes the guillemots and puffins. Their legs are set far back on their bodies, making them clumsy on land, where they seldom venture except to
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 family). Its large, triangular bill, brilliantly colored in yellow, blue, and vermilion, is adapted to carrying several fish at one time; it also gives the puffin its alternate name of sea parrot. During the mating season horny excrescences may develop over the eyes. Puffins have dumpy bodies, short legs set far back, and small wings; although expert swimmers, they are clumsy on land and in flight. They nest in colonies in burrows or rock cavities on northern islands and migrate regularly—the Atlantic puffin, Fratercula arctica, as far south as Long Island and the Pacific puffin, Lunda cirrhata, to California. The female lays a single egg, which is incubated mainly by the female. The chick is fed fish by both parents, and is abruptly deserted after 6 weeks. The adolescent puffin stays alone for another week, and then leaves the burrow alone. Puffins are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Alcidae.


any of various northern diving birds of the family Alcidae (auks, etc.), esp Fratercula arctica (common or Atlantic puffin), having a black-and-white plumage and a brightly coloured vertically flattened bill: order Charadriiformes
References in periodicals archive ?
Year Species Scientific name 1990s 2004 Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica 400 (1974) >1,000 Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle Common Murre Uria aalge 0 Razorbill Alca torda Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 30 (1983) Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus Herring Gull L.
Pay a visit to Machias Seal Island at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, a nesting territory for thousands of seabirds each summer, including about 1000 pair of Atlantic puffins.
A study by the trust of seabird sites study by the trust of seabird sites along the 742 miles of coastline it cares for revealed that the most prevalent threat to breeding colonies of birds such as little terns and Atlantic puffins was extreme weather.
YOUNG Atlantic puffins migrating for the first time scout out their own routes, rather than rely on genetic programming or help from their parents, a new study has revealed.

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