Tufted Puffin
(Fratercula cirrhata)


Picture of bird
© Andrew A Reding - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Tufted Puffin breeds primarily in Alaska, but some tens of thousands breed at colonies along the coast of British Columbia. Surveys at the largest colony in Canada indicate that the population's abundance has remained relatively unchanged since monitoring began in the 1980s. As for many Pacific seabirds, breeding success of Tufted Puffins is influenced by variable conditions in the marine environment and has at times been heavily influenced by predation from introduced mammalian predators. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Sensitive2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLittle ChangeMedium

Population estimate

Canada50,000 - 100,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

Mortality from entanglement in drift-nets used in high-seas fisheries was once severe in some portions of the Tufted Puffin's range (Piatt and Kitaysky 2002, DeGange et al. 1993), but other threats such as introduced predators are currently of greater concern in Canada. Rats enter burrows and depredate puffin nests, while larger mammalian predators such as red and arctic foxes kill many adults in northern portions of the species' range. Control programs for these and other introduced predators are ongoing at some nesting islands in British Columbia. Like other Pacific auks, breeding success of Tufted Puffins is related to conditions in the marine environment that influence the abundance of and access to prey (Gjerdrum et al. 2003), especially small fish such as Pacific Sandlance Ammodytes hexapterus.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region