Atlantic puffins have penguin-like colouring but they sport a colourful beak that has led some to dub them the “sea parrot.” The beak fades to a drab grey during the winter and blooms with colour again in the spring—suggesting that it may be attractive to potential mates.
These birds live most of their lives at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming. They are excellent swimmers that use their wings to stroke underwater with a flying motion. They steer with rudderlike webbed feet and can dive to depths of 200 feet, though they usually stay underwater for only 20 or 30 seconds. Puffins typically hunt small fish like herring or sand eels.