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puffin

puffin, common name for a diving bird of the family Alcidae (auk family). Its large, triangular bill, brilliantly colored in yellow, blue, and vermilion, is adapted to carrying several fish at one time; it also gives the puffin its alternate name of sea parrot. During the mating season horny excrescences may develop over the eyes. Puffins have dumpy bodies, short legs set far back, and small wings; although expert swimmers, they are clumsy on land and in flight. They nest in colonies in burrows or rock cavities on northern islands and migrate regularly—the Atlantic puffin, Fratercula arctica, as far south as Long Island and the Pacific puffin, Lunda cirrhata, to California. The female lays a single egg, which is incubated mainly by the female. The chick is fed fish by both parents, and is abruptly deserted after 6 weeks. The adolescent puffin stays alone for another week, and then leaves the burrow alone. Puffins are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Alcidae.

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puffin

puffin Small diving bird of the auk family (Alcidae), found in large colonies in the Northern Hemisphere. The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) has a short neck, a triangular bill with red, yellow and blue stripes, and reddish legs and feet. The puffin lays a single egg in a burrow c.1–2m (3.3–6.6ft) deep on a cliff. Length: c.30cm (12in).

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puffin

puf·fin / ˈpəfən/ • n. a hole-nesting auk (genera Fratercula and Lunda) of northern and Arctic waters, with a large head and a massive brightly colored triangular bill, in particular the Atlantic puffin (F. arctica).

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puffin

puffin XIV. ME. poffo(u)n, pophyn; prob. f. PUFF.

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Fratercula

Fratercula (puffins) See ALCIDAE.

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puffins

puffins (Fratercula) See ALCIDAE.

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puffin

puffin •Aladdin • stand-in •Dunedin, lead-in •Blondin, Girondin •Odin •paladin, Saladin •Borodin • Baffin • elfin •biffin, griffin, tiffin •boffin, coffin •dolphin • endorphin • bowfin •yellowfin •muffin, puffin •ragamuffin • paraffin • perfin •bargain • Begin • Kosygin •hoggin, noggin •imagine • margin • engine •pidgin, pigeon, smidgen, wigeon •stool pigeon • wood pigeon • origin •Pugin • virgin

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