North American West coast from
Rats, foxes, ravens, gulls, peregrine falcons, bald eagles.
Sandlance, capelin, greenling, cod, squid, and crustaceans.
Length: 15 inches
Wingspan: 23 inches
Horned Puffins reach breeding age at between three to five years of age and it is assumed that prolonged monogamy occurs in this species. They nest in rocky crevices on steep slopes or cliffs and are thought to nest in the same location each year. Peak egg laying season is between mid-June and the first week of July when the female lays just one egg. The adults take turns incubating the egg for about 41 days and once it hatches the parents take turns feeding and protecting the chick. At about 40 days after hatching the chick is abandoned by its parents who return out to sea, hunger then drives the chick out into the open ocean where it remains for two years before returning to land.
Monomorphic. In summer they have a black back, white belly, white face and cheeks with a small black horn above the eyes, large orange bill with red tip and bright orange legs and feet. In winter they shed the bill ornament, the face grays and feet become duller.
A puffin’s beak is specially adapted to carry multiple fish. A raspy tongue holds each fish against a double row of backward facing spines in the roof of the mouth, on average it will hold around 10 fish per catch but a record 62 fish being carried by one bird has been observed.
Horned puffins have adapted to avoid predation by way of camouflage. When they are swimming, predators above have difficulty spotting them because their dark back blends in with the bottom of the sea, whilst predators below also have a hard time identifying the swimming puffin as the white underbelly looks like a reflection of the sunlight.
Horned puffins are the least prevalent puffin species. Horned puffin chicks hatch with horns above eyes already visible, so can be identified from the first day. They can dive up to 80 feet.
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