Is a Puffin a Prey or a Predator?

In general, puffins have a very lovely prey-predator relationship with many animals. To be specific, Atlantic puffins, the most common type of puffins, prey on marine invertebrates such as crustaceans and mollusks. On the other hand, they prey on large fish and many aquatic and terrestrial mammals.

Puffins are a kind of bird that is a part of the three species of “small alcids” or auks. These birds feed on animals by diving in the water. These birds hunt a variety of both small and big fish. Let’s learn more about the kinds of fish these birds may consume and what factors affect their diet.

Is a Puffin a Prey or a Predator? Do they Have Teeth?

As we mentioned earlier, puffins are both prey for certain animals and predators for some other animals.

The main things puffins are prey for are other birds and even humans. This is because many other mammals cannot access such isolated areas where puffins are found.

Meanwhile, animals that puffins feed on include some small fish that are mostly 2 to six inches long. These include herrings, cods, hakes, sandeels, sprats, and capelins.

puffin bird

Even though dinosaurs were ancestors of these birds, they do not have teeth. Their teeth have been replaced with bills and beaks. The structure of its beak is wide due to its wide jaw and serrations inside of its beak. This is why it can carry a huge number of fish. 

Puffins Diet Facts: What Do They Eat?

Now that we know, puffins eat a variety of small fish they catch by diving into the water and catching several fish in their beaks. Let’s learn more about their diet based on factors that include their species, habitat, and seasons.

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● What do Puffins Eat in the Arctic Zone?

In the arctic zone, puffins feed on a variety of zooplankton and small fish that, include sand eels, herrings, capelins, and hakes. A puffin’s diet may vary depending on the location and breeding colony.

● What do Puffins Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, puffins eat fish that include species that are also available in the arctic zone.

● What do Arctic Puffins Eat?

Arctic puffins do not have a different diet from the two mentioned above; these birds also eat small fish such as sand eels, hakes, capelins, and herrings.

● What do Puffins Eat in the Winter?

In winter, these birds are mostly alone and do not breed. Their diet, however, remains the same. During winter, these birds may also eat crustaceans but mostly stick to the same fish they usually eat.

● What do Atlantic Puffins Eat?

Atlantic puffins are the most common species of puffins. They mainly eat sand lances and other 2 to 6 inches long fish. They do not go too deep during their breeding season to get their food.

What Type of Fish do Puffins Eat?

In a nutshell, puffins eat a variety of small fish and sea creatures which include octopuses, krills, squids, bristle worms, salmons, cods, herrings, hakes, crustaceans, sprats, capelins, and lots of other small fish as well.

What do Baby Puffins Eat?

Baby puffins will have the same diet as their parents, otherwise known as adult puffins. Baby puffins are fed by their parents. Adult puffins carry fish in their beaks and drop the small fish in their mouths. Baby puffins are fed many times during the day.

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What do Tufted Puffins Eat?

Just like regular puffins, tufted puffins also eat small fish. However, this kind of puffin eats some other fish such as rockfish, saury, and smelt as well. These tufted puffins may also eat crustaceans, mollusks, sea urchins, and even algae.

How do Puffins Eat Their Food?

Now that we know what puffins eat, are you wondering how they eat? Do they just catch fish and swallow them directly? Well, let’s find out.

puffin bird

The beak of a puffin can carry several fish due to its structure. So, they dive into the water, grasp the fish, and swallow it like flamingos.


Do Puffins Eat Plants?

No, puffins do not eat plants. Their diet consists of fish and many other kinds of small sea creatures.

Do Puffins Eat Octopuses?

Yes, puffins do eat octopuses. After their nesting season, puffins move into deep waters where they hunt all kinds of fish and invertebrates that, include octopuses and squids.

What is a Puffin’s Favorite Food?

A puffin’s favorite food is all kinds of small fish. Puffins are carnivores and like to eat fish that, include hakes, sand eels, and herrings.

Do Puffins Drink Water?

Yes, puffins do drink water. Atlantic puffins mostly live on the water. They can also drink salt water because that’s where they get their food from.

What Animals do Puffins Eat?

Puffins eat fish that are only about 2 to 6 inches long. These fish include sprat, hake, cod, herring, capelin, and sand lance.


Puffins are a species of small birds that belong to the small auls alcids family. These birds are pelagic seabirds that feed by finding their food by diving into the water.

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These birds have the perfect balance of being both prey and predator. They prey on small fish that are about 2 to 6 inches long.

These birds catch their prey from the water and feed them to their chicks and themselves too. I hope all your questions about the diet of puffins have been answered and that none of your questions have been left unanswered.

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