Saturday, January 02, 2016

Atlantic Puffin

This puffin was photographed at the start of the breeding season, seen here in front of the dark cliffs of Skomer Island. The characteristic bright orange bill plates and other facial characteristics develop in the spring. At the close of the breeding season, these special coatings and appendages are shed in a partial moult. This makes the beak appear less broad, the tip less bright and the base darker grey. The eye ornaments are shed and the eyes appear round. At the same time, the feathers of the head and neck are replaced and the face becomes darker.

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