Horned puffin

Fratercula corniculata

Fascinating Facts

  • Parents work together to care for their chicks for 40 days.
  • After the parents leave, chicks fly out to sea for 2 years.
  • Puffins have special beaks with backwards facing spines and raspy tongues for carrying multiple fish at once.
  • They hold around 10 fish per catch; the most ever observed was 65!
  • Their strong legs at the back of their body make them great swimmers but clumsy on land.
  • They have white and black faces with colorful beaks in breeding season, and mostly grey faces with duller beaks in winter.


Nests on islands and coastlines of Alaska on cliffs and in crevices, spends most of the year on the seas of the northern Pacific. Puffins eat fish and marine invertebrates, and can dive up to 80 feet to catch their prey, using their wings to swim.

Status in the Wild

Least Concern – IUCN 2012


Nest in Alaska and British Columbia, and spend the rest of their lives at sea in the northern Pacific, near Alaska and Japan down to Washington. They are occasionally spotted as far south as southern CA.

Location in the Zoo

Reptiles and Birds Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza

Animals & Exhibits