Standing only 12 in tall, the puffin is an unmistakable bird with its black back and white under-parts, distinctive black head with large pale cheeks and a tall, flattened, brightly-coloured bill. Its comical appearance is heightened by its red and black eye-markings and bright orange legs. In spring, when puffins come ashore to breed, they inhabit offshore islands and high sea cliffs. They breed in colonies and nest in burrows, under boulders or in cracks in cliffs, safe from predators. Puffins spend the winter out at sea, usually far from coasts and often head south of the breeding areas. The breeding season starts in spring and ends at the end of summer, with puffins departing from their colonies in August. One island which plays host to these little characters is Lunga in the Treshnish Isles. Lying close to the Isle of Mull, the Treshnish Isles have a distinctly Hebridean landscape and have rich wildlife populations, the most notable of which being its impressive seabird colony. On Lunga's shores you can get up close with this much loved bird. You’ll be taken aback by how tame the puffins are while being amazed at the sight of thousands of seabirds.
When to see this species: spring, summer
Where to see this species: On islands and sea cliffs in places such as East Lothian, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Fife, Shetland and Orkney.