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Puffins in captivity have been known to breed as early as three years of age.

After breeding, all three puffin species winter at sea, usually far from coasts and often extending south of the breeding range.

The puffins are distinct in their ability to hold several (sometimes over a dozen) small fish at a time, crosswise in their bill, rather than regurgitating swallowed fish.This allows them to take longer foraging trips, since they can come back with more food energy for their chick than a bird that can only carry one fish at a time.Like many auks, puffins eat both fish and zooplankton, but feed their chicks primarily with small marine fish several times a day.The prey species of the Atlantic puffin include the sandeel, herring and capelin.Although there no records from the Miocene in the Atlantic, a re-examination of the North Carolina material indicated that the diversity of puffins in the early Pliocene was as great in the Atlantic as it is in the Pacific today.

This diversity was achieved through influxes of puffins from the Pacific; the later loss of species was due to major oceanographic changes in the late Pliocene due to closure of the Panamanian Seaway and the onset of severe glacial cycles in the North Atlantic.Puffins are any of three small species of alcids (auks) in the bird genus Fratercula with a brightly coloured beak during the breeding season.These are pelagic seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water.The female lays a single egg, and both parents incubate the egg and feed the chick (or "puffling").The incubating parent holds the egg against its brood patch with its wings. After fledging, the chicks spend the first few years of their lives at sea, returning to breed about five years later.The puffins are stocky, short-winged and short-tailed birds, with black upper parts and white or brownish-grey underparts.