Frame 3/3 - my favorite - check out my latest blog entry: www.naturephotographyblog.com

The Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) is a relatively abundant medium-sized pelagic seabird in the auk (Alcidae) family found throughout the North Pacific Ocean. It is one of three species of puffin that make up the Fratercula genus and is easily recognizable by its thick red bill and flowing yellow tufts. Tufted Puffins are preyed upon by various avian raptors such as Snowy Owls, Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, and mammals like the Arctic Foxes. Foxes seem to prefer the puffin over other birds, making the bird a main target. Choosing inaccessible cliffs and entirely mammal-free islands protects them from terrestrial predators while laying eggs in burrows is effective in protecting them from egg-scavengers like gulls and ravens. First described in 1769 by German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas, The Tufted Puffin gets its generic name from the Latin Fratercula 'little brother' and the specific epithet, cirrhata 'tufted'. Since it may be more closely related to the Rhinoceros Auklet than the other puffins it is sometimes placed in the genus Lunda. The corner of the Puffin's bill is a fleshy membrane which allows the bird to open it's lower bill almost parallel to the top. This clamping action, combine with a series of backward pointing spines on their tongue and roof of mouth, allow the puffin to gather a great number of fish in one trip. They average 10 fish per trip but have been observed carrying up to 60!! Tufted puffin were once hunted for food. Their tough hides were used to make parkas, the warm feathers worn toward the inside. Today they are a species of least concern with an estimated global population of 2,400,000 individuals. St Paul is the largest of four volcanic islands which make up the Pribilof Islands in the middle of the Bering Sea (Otter, Walrus, St. George and St. Paul). The Pribilof Islands were discovered and named by the Russian Navigator, Gavriel Pribylov in 1786. In 1788 a group of Russian fur traders enslaved and re

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app