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 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, though there are conservation concerns for the colonies located in the southern portion of the species’ breeding range in the California Current (Hart et al. 2018). Like many other 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.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Imperiled2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeMediumAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada50,000 - 100,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global 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 (DeGange et al. 1993, Piatt and Kitaysky 2002), 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). Climate change is also a concern for the species; changes in sea-surface temperatures and their impacts on puffin prey, especially within the southern breeding range, have likely led to ongoing puffin declines there (Hart et al. 2018).


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 -- Stewardship