Atlantic Puffin (bird)


Atlantic dead end (Fratercula arctica) is a medium-sized bird: body length varies from 26 to 29 cm, wingspan reaches 63 cm. Males are somewhat larger and more massive than females, but they are painted the same way: the lower part is covered with white feathers, and beak and paws are bright orange. In the mating season, the beak acquires a red-blue-yellow shade, yellowish long feathers grow on the back of the head. With the onset of the mating season, males of the Atlantic dead end appear around the eyes of small black triangles.

Lifestyle and nutrition

Dead ends are excellent flyers, swimmers and divers. In search of food, they can dive to a depth of 10 m and stay under water for up to two minutes. Going for prey, fly off for 100 km from the coast.

The basis of the diet is fish. Dead ends catch it, not letting it out of its beak previously caught, at the same time they are able to hold up to 10–12 fish in their beak.

Danger to the species are seagulls and skuas, which ruin clutches and destroy chicks.


Sexual maturity comes at the age of 4–5 years. The dead ends form stable pairs and take care of the chicks together. Most of the work on the construction of the nest is carried out by the male: he clears the nesting area from debris, algae and feathers. In the Atlantic dead end, there is only one egg, the hatching of which lasts 39–45 days. For about 50 days, the young chick is in the nest under the care of parents.

This is a typical representative of the North. Distributed around the Arctic Circle. The rocky outcrops of the coast serve as a dead end as an excellent place for nesting, and the sea is convenient for fishing.


At the time of nesting, dead ends several times a day, for 15–20 minutes, fly in circles with a characteristic rumbling over the colony and feeding place at sea. In this way they dry their feathers. Success in feeding the chick depends on the distance that parents have to fly for food for him. The Atlantic Puffin is immersed in the water behind the loach, which is his favorite delicacy. Due to the strong movements of the wings, it sinks to a great depth, where the schools of this fish swim. Birds fly many times a day from the nest to the fishing spot and back.

Where it lives

Dead ends live in the north of the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the time they spend at sea, rocking on the waves, sometimes hundreds of kilometers from land. This is a period when dead ends can lead a lonely lifestyle, although some are kept in pairs. In the spring, hundreds of Atlantic dead ends gather on the shore to breed chicks.

Most often, these birds dig holes in the steep slopes of the hills, which are overgrown with grass, and sometimes among the stones at the foot of the rocks.


In March-April, returning to nesting, dead ends gather near the coast and swing on the waves. Here begins the mating season. The male and female rub each other with their beaks, and after mating they fly to prepare a nest in the colony at the site of last year’s nesting.

Sometimes a young pair of birds has to dig a new nest for themselves. This happens when it is not possible to find someone's abandoned hole.

Dead ends most often create pairs for the rest of their lives. Despite the fact that the partners do not spend the whole year together, they find each other again during the mating season.

In the nest hole, the female lays an egg. Parents hatch him alternately, and when the chick hatch, together take part in its feeding.

Since birds of prey hunt dead ends, the young birds that have grown up during the day are kept in a hole, and at night they come out to swim in the sea. At this time, the chicks still do not know how to fly, so they swim near the coast, so that they can return to the nest before dawn. Until the moment when the chicks leave the nest, they already know how to fly and fish. Next year, those who survive will fly every spring to the places where they were born, although they themselves will create couples only at the age of 3-4 years.


Dead ends can be found in Europe. Colonies of these birds are found on the British and Scottish Islands, on the islands near the English Channel. Large colonies of dead ends are on the island of Kildin. Some individuals are also found on the coast of Brittany and Norway. In March, when the nesting period begins, one can observe huge flocks of dead ends that fly to nesting sites where they hatch.


  • The dead end feathers are protected from the penetration of water by the oily secret of the tail gland, which gives them water-repellent properties.
  • The dead end is an inquisitive bird, so it spies on its neighbors.
  • The sounds of the deadlock most often resemble the grumpy "arrho" or the resounding "arr."
  • While diving, the bird gradually gets rid of the air from the feathers, and therefore, during the voyage, the dead end looks as if it is surrounded by a silvery air “spacesuit”.
  • On the island of Kildin in the North Atlantic, meat of dead ends was added to oatmeal.
  • The dead end is a bird that floats and flies perfectly, but its paws, located behind the cylindrical shape of the body, deprive the dead end of elegance.

Klyuv And nest stupid

Nest: parents dig a hole about 2 m long at the end of which there is a nesting chamber. Sometimes occupy the rabbit hole.

Beak: during the mating season, the beak of the deadlock becomes brightly colored. In winter, the color of the beak fades, so it is unobtrusive.

- habitat deadlock


In the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean and on the islands of the Arctic zone.


Since the 1960s, the population of dead ends has declined significantly due to pollution of the seas. Overfishing of weeds and other marine fish is also a threat to their existence. Environmental conservation organizations require the introduction of limits on the fish that feed the dead ends.

Exterior features of the impasse

The bird has received an unusual name not because of mediocre mental abilities, but because of its beak shape. It resembles a blunt ax or other chopping tool. Along with the scientific, quite popular and popular name. Residents of seaside regions call the dead end a sea parrot - of course, also because of its outstanding appearance.

But the beak is not the only "trick" of the appearance of this bird. Eyes deserve no less attention. Looking at them, you can seriously believe that the bird is not in jest with something sad. In fact, this is not an emotion at all, but simply a feature of the exterior, which absolutely every Atlantic dead end has. Photos of this bird in profile best show an unusual look.

Sexual demorphism at dead ends is weakly expressed, except for an experienced ornithologist, to distinguish a male from a female. Birds of both sexes have a gray-black color, against which bright orange beaks and yellow spots on cheeks stand out.

The Atlantic Puffin, whose size rarely exceeds 30 cm, weighs in on average 500 grams. The wingspan of this bird can reach half a meter.

Where do dead ends live?

The whole life of this bird is connected with the sea. The Atlantic deadlock is found off the coast of northern Europe, in many regions of Iceland, on the Faroe Islands, and also on the other side of the Atlantic - on the east coast of the North American continent. There is evidence that this bird can be found beyond the Arctic Circle.

Everyday life

Atlantic Puffin - a freedom-loving bird. The deadlock spends the most part of an adult life in loneliness. But before the onset of the mating season, the population is going to build nests and create families.

In the remaining periods, almost all the time free from sleep, the dead end devotes to hunting. These birds not only fly well, but are also excellent swimmers.

Power sea bluff

As you can easily guess, the diet is also connected to the sea. The deadlock menu includes fish, crustaceans, mollusks. The Atlantic Puffin produces food thanks to the hunting skills that it gains in its youth. Favorite delicacy of dead ends is the loach fish.

Mating season and breeding

In March and April, the dead ends flock to the nests. They will meet the mating season here. Female deadlocks and males meet each other, start rubbing against each other, thus expressing their sympathy. By the end of spring, dead ends of beaks will change color from orange to bright red. This is a clear signal of readiness to start a family.

As a rule, new couples independently are engaged in arrangement of nests. But in rare cases, they can return to last year's houses or take one of the empty.

Birds of this species are characterized by life-long unions. Dead ends rarely change partners. However, when the mating season is over and the babies are strong enough, the parent couple will part. Each of them will live alone until next spring, to meet again to set up a new nest.

In most cases, the female brings one egg. Both partners are engaged in incubation, replacing each other. The average incubation period is 40 days.

The dead-end father also takes part in raising the chick. Parents alternately hunt for food, for themselves, a partner and a baby.

Practically from the first days chicks are taught to swim. It is noteworthy that during the day the dead ends prefer to hide the offspring from the natural enemies in the folds of the coastal rocks. On swimming lessons kids are taken in the dark. In this mode, the life of babies runs the first half months. And when this term expires, the parents leave the nest, leaving the offspring who can already hunt, fly and swim alone. Such a seemingly harsh school of life goes through every young Atlantic dead end.

Interesting Facts

Scientists have long noticed some features in the behavior and lifestyle of these birds. For example, a couple preparing to become parents often digs a hole in rocky terrain, much larger than its size and the dimensions of all enemies in the natural environment. In the mink depth of 2 meters, the baby is definitely not in danger.

And many divers could envy the next impasse. Under water, this bird is able to move at a speed of up to 20 km / h. And the maximum depth of immersion deadlock reaches 70 meters! It would be possible to call water the native element of the Atlantic dead end, but in the sky this bird feels no less confident. Flight at 100 km - a common thing for the sea parrot. At the same time the bird easily tolerates cold.

Natural enemies

The Atlantic dead end is a desirable prey for many neighbors. There are many birds of prey near the nests of the parrot: eagles, hawks, skuas, polar owls. They will attempt on dead ends, and especially on young, even large seagulls.

Some dangerous enemies especially like eggs and babies. That is why they are digging dead ends with such impressive holes, that is why they hide chicks in the daytime.

Human factor

Currently, a dead end represents absolutely no industrial interest for a person. Neither the meat, nor the feathers or down of this bird is considered valuable.

But human activity in the sea has an indirect effect. Pollution of the environment, as well as industrial catch of the loach, has a detrimental effect on the population of these birds.

What is special about the appearance of a dead end bird?

The main expressive feature of its appearance is the beak. It has an unusual triangular shape, flattened laterally. Such a “construction” is a bit like an ax, or a blunt instrument, maybe that's why the bird was called a dead end? When the mating season comes in these birds, the beak becomes bright orange - why not Mother Nature's magic? The head of the Atlantic dead end is painted black, but there are blotches in the form of grayish spots (on the cheeks). For their multicolored appearance, the dead ends received the people's “nickname” - “sea parrot”.

The Atlantic dead end is also called the sea parrot because of its bright plumage and remarkable, no less bright beak.

Adult dead ends in length reach about 30 centimeters, and at the same time weigh about half a kilogram. In the expanded state, the size of the wings is 50 - 60 centimeters. It is very difficult to distinguish males and females from each other by external signs, their plumage is absolutely the same. But one can say for sure - the dead end is one of the most beautiful birds on Earth.

A couple of dead ends preparing to breed.

Listen to the voice of the Atlantic dead end

With the onset of spring, groups of Atlantic dead ends can be observed on the shore. They gather there to breed their chicks.

Here on such steep cliffs here are dead ends and nest.

The Atlantic Puffin is not only an excellent swimmer, but also a skillful diver. Sailing under the surface of the water, he can reach a speed of about 20 km / h, and dive to a depth of 70 meters!

Procreation at the Atlantic dead ends

The marriage period begins at the beginning of the summer (June - July). Birds build nests, arranging them in holes dug by themselves, or in the crevices of rocks. After mating, the Atlantic dead end female lays one egg, it has a white color. After a month and a half, little nestlings appear at the dead ends.

Why dead end so bright beak? Probably for marriage games.

Parents feed babies with small fish, this happens for about 40 days. And then what? After this period, the parents leave the small, still fragile chick, leaving him to fend for themselves. Having learned to fly, the dead-end kid independently goes to the sea for prey. This is how the young Atlantic dead ends acquire life experience and become adults.

Who are the natural enemies of the Atlantic dead ends

Large predatory birds hunt for dead ends. Falcons, eagles, polar owls, hawks, large sea gulls can be referred to the lovers of eating a dead end. In addition, large skuas hunt for dead ends. But not only adults of Atlantic dead ends become victims of insidious predators. For example, herring gull prefers eggs of dead ends and their little chicks.

Young dead ends, abandoned by their parents, are preparing to enter adult life.

As for people, today the meat of dead ends is not used by man. We can say that in a direct way we do not affect the population of the Atlantic dead ends.