Sunday, 2 August 2009

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula artica)

Latin Etymology: Fratercula ("little brother; friar") artica ("Northern")
Three adult Atlantic Puffin (subspecies F. a. grabae) at the Farne Islands, Northumbria - July 2009

Featured Subspecies: Fratercula artica grabae
Weight: 500g  /  Length: 25cm  /  Wingspan: 47-63cm
UK RED LIST / IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

Puffins suffer the same problem as many sea-birds for photographing - they live exclusively by the sea, and therefore, firstly require getting to that location. Puffins are seemingly more limited in range than guillemots, seemingly being found almost exclusivly in the West coast, Scotland and Northumbria. Puffins also have a further issue - unlike the other species of Auk, they tend to nest on offshore islands more than on the mainland, presumably due to predation. As with other ocean going birds, they come ashore only to breed from April to August and then leave.I would recommend the Farne Islands as a very good place to photograph these birds, this is the only place I've actually seen them for a start, but you can also get very close to them for photography in a setting where they are used to humans.

Further Information:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Fratercula
Subspecies: F. a. naumanni, F. a. arctica, F. a. grabae 

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Numerous but very local breeding species (581,000 pairs).
 - Seen at St. Bee's Head and Farne Islands

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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