Puffin with a Mouthful of Fish

A puffin with a mouthful of fish.
(Steve Garvie, Flickr)

An Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) carries many sandlances (Ammodytidae) in its mouth to take back to its hungry chick. Puffins have spiny tongues that, pressed against the roof of their mouths, help to hold ten or more fish at once without losing any along the way. The two parents of a single chick take turns bringing food back to the nest. It's possible to learn what kinds of fish are most commonly found in an area by observing what types come back in a puffin's beak. Read this blog post by Steve Kress, director of Audubon's Seabird Restoration program, to learn more.