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Atlantic puffin
The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) is a species of seabird in the auk family and is the only puffin native to the Atlantic Ocean. It has a black crown and back, pale grey cheek patches and white underparts and its broad, boldly marked red and black beak and orange legs contrast with its otherwise sombre plumage. The Atlantic puffin spends the autumn and winter at sea, mainly in the North Atlantic, and returns to land at the start of the breeding season in late spring. Its breeding range includes the coasts of north west Europe, the Arctic fringes and eastern North America. It nests in clifftop colonies, each pair of birds choosing or digging a burrow in which a single white egg is laid. Incubation takes about six weeks and the chicks are fully fledged a similar time later. They then make their way at night to the sea, not returning to land for several years. Colonies are mostly on islands where there are no terrestrial predators, but both adult birds and newly fledged young are at risk of attacks from the air by gulls and skuas. The Atlantic puffin's striking appearance, large colourful bill, waddling gait and appealing behaviour have given rise to nicknames such as "clown of the sea" and "sea parrot". This Atlantic puffin was photographed on the northern coast of Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, Wales.Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp