The Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) is a medium-sized pelagic seabird measuring about 30 cm in length and weighing roughly three quarters of a kilogram. It is mostly black with a white 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. This bird originally nested as far south as southern California; some colonies still exist off northern California. Their diet is almost exclusively fish, which they catch by diving from the surface far offshore from their nesting grounds. Adults may also feed on squid or other invertebrates.
Most of these birds spend their winters far out to sea.
Breeding and reproduction
Breeding takes place in colonies 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, however sometimes a crevice between rocks is used instead. The nest well-lined with vegetation and feathers. Courtship occurs through skypointing, strutting, and billing. 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.