Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Pufflings?

In this video, I discover that baby puffins are called “pufflings”…which I find totally adorable.

(via Iceland Islande)


  1. carlie says

    I have adored puffins ever since I first read about them in one of my Childcraft books.* Went to Maine last summer and made my family go to the Project Puffin center – it was awesome.

    *Bless my parents, they didn’t have much, but they got a World Book Encyclopedia set and subscribed to the Childcraft collection, because I was going to be able to learn stuff, dammit.

  2. rogerfirth says

    I dunno. Back in school, pufflings use to leave me with quite the buzz…

  3. Ichthyic says

    World Book Encyclopedia set

    ah, brings back memories.

    I had the complete 20 volume set once upon a time.

    those did more than any other individual thing to set me on the path of wanting to be a scientist.

    for me, it was the day I received the volume that had praying mantises in it, and then going out into my backyard, the same day, and seeing my first one!

    I was 7, and still remember that as if it were yesterday.

    I ended up giving the entire set to my nephew when he turned 7.

  4. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    I did actually know that young puffins were called ‘pufflings’, which I love. I believe it prompted my own (unsuccessful) campaign to have dingo cubs renamed ‘dinglets’ for a similar level of cuteness.

  5. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    Oh, and I remember seeing a doco on them; IIRC they’re terribly stupid – people catch them in nets after luring them to land by swinging a dead puffin around on a string, which the poor dumb birds can’t apparently distinguish from a live, flying one.

  6. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    PZ wrote:

    I’m going to call my children apelings from now on.


  7. amblebury says

    Puffins! I love them.

    I visited Iceland, all hepped up and keen to see them. Didn’t realise they spend a season at sea or something, so missed them :(

  8. says

    Just watched a show on Japanese murrelets (which are the adults), a relative of auks. They are weak flyers that spend most of their lives bobbing about on the ocean. They swim/fly underwater to catch fish and rarely fly more than a few feet off the water. They spend a month ashore hatching eggs and then take the newly hatched birds out to sea, where they receive their first meal of regurgitated fish.

  9. jand says

    re apelings:

    my (younger) son and myself sometimes call each other “junior monkey” and “senior monkey”, especially when talking from the point of view of our cat, as in: cat: “meeaoouw” translation: “I want junior monkey to give me some food”. etc.

  10. bbgunn says

    This is why you don’t put the penguins next to the toucans and ducks. They just fook up the design specs.

  11. Ogvorbis says

    So would a pack of puffins be called a carton?

    (I love these birds. Like penguins that got it right!)

  12. Ogvorbis says

    Why do adult puffins sound different in Iceland and Maine?

    The ones in Maine drop their ‘r’s’ and tend to flatten some vowels. Ayuh, it’s a Maine thing.

  13. Desert Son, OM says

    Fun video. Love the “javelin” style puffin return technique. Are they certain that’s not just old Viking memories resurfacing? The ancient art of hurling ash spears through enemies on a raid?

    Still learning,


  14. Trebuchet says

    I’m guessing that the town, Heimaey, is the one nearly destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1973.

    I wonder how many of those birds have been rescued more than once.