Tuesday, July 31, 2012

San Francisco Bay Area Seabirds, Tufted Puffin

San Francisco Bay Area Bird Watching
SeaBirds of Marin, SF Bay and Gulf of the Farallones

Tufted Puffin

Tufted Puffin Facts:
Tufted Puffin Scientific classification
  • Tufted Puffin Kingdom: Animalia
  • Tufted Puffin Phylum: Chordata
  • Tufted Puffin Class: Aves
  • Tufted Puffin Order: Charadriiformes
  • Tufted Puffin Family: Alcidae
  • Tufted Puffin Genus: Fratercula
  • Tufted Puffin Species: F. cirrhata
Tufted Puffin Binomial name
  • Fratercula cirrhata

Tufted Puffins are around 35 cm (15 in) in length with a similar wingspan and weigh about three quarters of a kilogram (1.6 lbs). Birds from the western Pacific population are somewhat larger than those from the eastern Pacific, and male birds tend to be slightly larger than females.
They are mostly black with a white facial patch, and, typical of other puffin species, feature a very thick bill which is mostly red with some yellow and occasionally green markings. Their most distinctive feature and namesake are the yellow tufts that appear annually on birds of both sexes as the summer reproductive season approaches. Their feet become bright red and their face also becomes bright white in the summer. During the feeding season, the tufts moult off and the plumage, beak and legs lose much of their lustre.
Other Information:
Tufted Puffin are adorable. Their slightly comical appearance makes them very enduring. Around the San Francisco Bay area they can be found in the Gulf of the Farallones. You can take one of the many Bay Area natural history tours to the Farallon Islands to see them. They are typically found along with many other seabirds around May, June and July. Additionally they can be found September through November. However, occassionally a typically migrating Tufted Puffin will set up permanent residence and you can seen the lone Puffin or pair of Puffins on any given trip to the Farallon Ilsands.


Photography ©SFBAYIMAGES.com (Buy or License Photo)Tufted Puffin none mating plumage, note lack of "tufts". South East Farallon Island.

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