The Puffin


The Puffin

The puffin is the most common bird in Iceland. In 2009 the stock was estimated to be 10 million individuals. Since then the number has decreased, especially in South of Iceland where lack of food is the main reason. It is estimated that 100 thousands breeding pairs nest in Ísafjarðardjúp bay. 35-40 thousands nest in the island of Vigur, the rest in the islands of Æðey and Borgarey.

The puffin is a small bird, about 20 cm tall and weighs only 500 grams. It can dive down to 60 m, has short wings that makes under water swimming easy using flying technique. In the air, the puffin can reach a speed of 88 km/hour while beating their wings up to 400 times per minute. The puffins black and white colors and the upright posture has earned him the nick name "the duke" or "prófasturinn" in Icelandic.

Puffins nests in a tunnel it digs under turf soil. The tunnels are usually close to cliffs and are 3-6 m long. To make the nest a bit comfy, it is lined with grass, leaves and feathers. The female lays one egg and hatching takes about 40 days. The hatch stay in the hole for 45 days before they head out to sea where they spend the first 3-5 years of their life.

All puffins spend the winter months at sea. The young birds usually stay South West of Iceland while the older birds stay of the shore of south Greenland. The birds come home to their colonies in late April or early May. Puffins usually breed with the same partner every year and use the same hole for nesting. Read more about the puffin on Wikipedia