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Similar to the larger Horned Puffin which ranges in the North Pcific and which has a yellow base to its bill. Smaller than Common Murre (which has a longer thinner bill) and Razorbill. Larger than Dovekie. All these have wing bars, lacking in the Puffin.
Geographical variation is largely clinal, and boundaries between the named subspecies are somewhat arbitrary. This species is now treated as monotypic by most authorities following a recommendation by Sangster et al. (2005)
The breeding season is from May to June with 1 egg; 1 brood. The grooves on the bill increase with age. They use abandoned rabbit or shearwater burrows (sometimes small caves in a cliff face) on steep grassy slopes at the top of a cliff.
It is mainly Sandeels that are fed to the chick, these increase in size as the youngster grows. They have a semi-rigid rasping tongue which pushes already caught sandeels up onto spikes on the hard palate - this frees up the mandibles (especially the lower) to snap at the next victim!
Lowther, P. E., A. W. Diamond, S. W. Kress, G. J. Robertson, and K. Russell (2002). Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.709
Nettleship, D.N., Kirwan, G.M., Christie, D.A., Sharpe, C.J., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2018). Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/54078 on 21 September 2018).
Provencher, Jennifer & Gaston, Anthony. (2012). A Specimen of the High Arctic Subspecies of Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula arctica naumanni, in Canada. Canadian Field Naturalist. 126. 50-54. 10.22621/cfn.v126i1.1297.
Sangster, G., Collinson, J.M., Helbig, A.J., Knox, A.G. & Parkin, D.T. (2005) Taxonomic recommendations for British birds: third report. Ibis 147(4): 821â€“826.