Olympic Coast

Two puffins

Photo: Mary Sue Brancato/NOAA

Tufted Puffin

Among the many seabirds of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is the tufted puffin. Tufted puffins are known for their distinctive appearance, with a bold white “face-mask” and golden head plumes in the breeding season. They are graceful hunters underwater, and can hold multiple fish crosswise in their bill to carry back to their chicks.

A world map highlighting the coasts of the northwestern united states, western canda and alaska

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Fratercula cirrhata

DIET: Mostly fish, some small squid and zooplankton

WINGSPAN: Average 30 inches

LIFE SPAN Possibly 20+ years


THREATS: Oil spills, fishing bycatch, prey scarcity, pesticides, and habitat destruction

STATUS: Protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

FUN FACT: Tufted puffins nest in burrows on slopes or cliffs.