One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A hole-nesting auk (seabird) of northern and Arctic waters, with a large head and a massive, brightly colored triangular bill.
Genera Fratercula and Lunda, family Alcidae: three species, in particular the (Atlantic) puffin (F. arctica)
- ‘A network of tracks lead to places where waders and wildfowl can be seen in their thousands, where buzzards ‘sky dance’ and where puffins, razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes jostle for space.’
- ‘The abundance of gulls, terns, skuas, guillemots and puffins has long been a prime tourist attraction, as well as of global wildlife significance.’
- ‘In spring and summer these become home to thousands of sea birds like guillemots, razorbills, puffins, fulmars and kittiwakes.’
- ‘Do not let it run free on coastal islands because terns, eider ducks, puffins, and storm petrels are ground nesters.’
- ‘It's been estimated that a million birds nest here, including puffins, razorbills, common and Brünnich's guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes.’
- ‘Some flightless birds, such as living penguins, puffins, and rails, and the extinct auks and phororhacoids, are classified in the Neognathae along with most flying birds.’
- ‘It reared some 175m above the water, its crevices packed with noisy gannets, puffins, guillemots and gulls.’
- ‘Along thousands of miles of coastline, you will see colonies of seabirds clustered in cliffs - gannets, puffins, guillemots, razorbills, and kittiwakes.’
- ‘Our provincial bird, the puffin, nests here in staggering numbers.’
- ‘And rather than go hungry, the birds are preying on other seabirds like puffins and kittiwakes.’
- ‘Various kittiwakes, puffins, cormorants and gulls are common birds found here.’
- ‘I was expecting to hear waves, wind, drops of water, a few puffins chirping away, perhaps even some crashing sounds as ice falls into the sea.’
- ‘One would imagine this place to be a paradise of alcids of all types, guillemots, dovekies, puffins, razorbills, murres, and murrelets all splashing around in their black and white finery.’
- ‘Other island nesting birds, such as puffins and petrels, also were hit hard, but none as badly as the Aleutian Canada goose.’
- ‘We had seen guillemots, gannets, razorbills, puffins and cormorants by the time we reached the first of the four shipwrecks we would dive over this weekend.’
- ‘Like other puffins, this species has a large, laterally compressed bill.’
- ‘In coastal areas, for example, puffins, rock doves, fulmars and guillemots are most favoured items of diet.’
- ‘They can also see puffins, ospreys, ptarmigans, gannets, and a springtime explosion of breeding birds on the coastal cliffs.’
- ‘The large offshore rock behind the eastern headland is The Mouls, which is a breeding site for puffins, gannets and kittiwakes.’
- ‘Scotland has seen significant rises in populations of gannets, common gulls and puffins, but other species, such as the arctic tern, are in steep decline.’
Middle English (denoting the Manx shearwater): apparently from puff + -ing, with reference to the Manx shearwater's fat nestlings. The later use is a confusion, by association of nesting habits and habitat.
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