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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).

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A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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