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puffin,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
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Alcidae.
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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005