Can Puffins Swim or Fly?

Yes, amazingly, the puffin is a bird, and this comic-looking cute bird can both swim and fly. It is the search for food for which they dive deep underwater and swim with strokes of wings in a flying motion.  

Puffins’ colonies are on the coasts of water bodies where they stay, breed, and feed their young ones. Their flying patterns can make you predict their swimming expertise. Stay tuned to explore more about how they swim and catch their prey in bulk at once. 

Can Puffins Swim? Can They Swim Underwater?

Puffins can dive deep into the ocean to find the herring and small fish they are looking for. Puffins use their wings to stroke the water back.

puffin bird

Their wings are spread like they are flying in the air. The webbed feet of puffin act as the ship’s rudders to push them forward in the water. Puffins can go deep in the ocean up to 200 feet.

While swimming underwater, they have a strong mechanism similar to flying. Just like the air flying. They repeat the same method to swim underwater and it’s amazing.

Like flying, they have upstroke and downstroke, which help them steer through the waves and maintain a good speed.

They are very much suitable for a marine habitat. One more proof of that is the gland near their tail which provides them with oil that is smeared all over their body to keep it waterproof.

They seem to be swimming in a silvery water bubble underwater which is created through the flapping of wings.  

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How Fast Can Puffins Swim?

Puffins are fast fliers. They have a distinctively fast flight which can reach up to 50 miles per hour. They have the ability to flap their wings 400 times in a minute.

Well, that is wicked. So is the swimming of puffins. Due to the strong flapping action of the puffins, we can safely believe when they say that puffins swim as fast as 10 miles per hour.

Having an in-depth study of the anatomy of puffins, you would see how their wings are designed as flippers to support their fast swimming.

They fold their wings and point them backward, giving the body speed and acceleration.

How Long Can a Puffin Hold Its Breath?

It is for 20 seconds that the puffins can hold their breath underwater. Although far apart from each other, yet the first look of a puffin would remind you more of the penguins.

 They both have few but some common things like the habitat, swimming and outlook of black and white. Unlike penguins, puffins cannot breathe underwater.

Rather, they hold it for nearly 20 seconds. But as they are swift and comfortable swimmers, they hunt within the limit to the fullest and return back to the surface water.

Can Puffins Fly?

puffin bird

Puffins fly swiftly; yes, they can. They are better at flying as the penguins are better in swimming with the capability to breathe underwater. Here is what you can sum up about their swimming style:

  • Puffins fly by flapping their wings 400 times a minute which is wildly fast.
  • They fly at the speed of 55 miles per hour or exceeding that.
  • They fly at a higher altitude than other seabirds like auks. They maintain an altitude of 30 feet above the sea.
  • It is as far as 30 miles out to sea for which they fly.
  • In winter, they molt away or lose their wings to remain flightless.
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Can Puffins breathe underwater?

No, puffins cannot breathe underwater. They hold their breath during their deep dive for 20-30 seconds. While holding their breath, they grab an average of 10 fish in their beak at a time.

How long can a Puffin hold its breath?

Penguins can’t breathe underwater, unlike penguins, but they can hold their breath for 20-30 seconds. It is their fast speed and accurate aiming at the herring that helps them achieve the target with apparently a shorter stay underwater.

Why do Puffins have waterproof feathers?

The waterproof feathers of puffins are a special physical adaptation for living near an open sea. The waxy or waterproof feathers keep puffins warm while swimming and diving in seawater.

Do Puffins sleep?

As announced by the National Audubon Society, the researcher Stephen Kress says that the puffins have a fantastic sleep pattern: resting and sleeping on waves for nearly eight months. They eat and drink from the sea at that time.


 Known as the clowns of the sea, puffins have a colorful and cartoon-like attraction. They have colonies near isles and have almost eight colonies on isles in the world.

Swimming and flying simultaneously is their special feature due to the physical adaptation of the birds.

They do both with smartness which is for their survival. They hunt and survive through their flying and swimming aptness.

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