|Athropolis HOME | Maps | Arctic Links | Arctic Library
Little Brother of the North
Arctic puffins live along the sea coasts of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. They often live in large groups that include auks, gulls and other birds, and build their nests in holes in the rocks or tundra.
The name puffin originally meant "fatling" to describe their chubby chicks, and the scientific Latin name of Fratercula Arctica means "little brother of the north".
Perhaps one of their common names, "clowns of the air", is more appropriate. Puffins love to have fun, and on fine spring days you might see the colorful birds joyflighting and divebombing!
These colorful birds aren't always so colorful. During the winter, the bills and feet of puffins fade to a dull gray, but each spring their beaks and feet turn a colorful orange in preparation for the breeding season. The beak increases in size as the Puffin matures and the size and color of their beaks serves to demonstrate their "quality" to potential mates.
Once they find a mate, they usually stay together and use the same burrow year after year. Puffins only lay one egg each year, and the male and female share the duties of both incubating the egg and raising the chick (Picture: Right).
Click pictures for more information and credits.
Library: Arctic, Birds
Links: Arctic. Arctic Animals
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?