When you head into the waters of the North Sea on board Aurora Expeditions' Wild Scotland tour, prepare to have your eyes opened like you'd never expect. If you think you know Scotland, think again. On it its shores and in the surrounding ocean, Scotland is packing plenty of surprises, from its windswept isles to its wildlife.

One of the most beloved of Scotland's creatures has to be the undeniably adorable Atlantic puffin. These instantly recognisable birds are just one of the fascinating creatures that populate the region, so let's take a closer look at just what makes them special.
 

 

A photo posted by Dmitriy Borzov (@dmitriyborzov) on

Jun 13, 2015 at 1:14am PDT

 

Introducing the Atlantic puffin 

These birds look like mini penguins, spending the majority of their lives on the ocean - which can last up to 20 years. Often called a 'sea parrot', when the Atlantic puffin is not resting on top of the waves, they are doing what they do best, swimming. 

Talented paddlers, the puffin have bright orange, webbed feet which serve them as a rudder as they steer through the water. As noted by National Geographic, these clever little birds can dive some 60 metres under water, and can stay there for 20-30 seconds. 

Their bright-coloured beak is vividly colourful in spring, but then fades to grey in winter. On the inside, it features a multitude of backwards-facing spikes, which enable the puffin to stuff its  beak with small fish, the main component of its diet. According to Welcome to Scotland, the record number of fish a single puffin has been witnessed holding in its beak is over 60!
 

 

A photo posted by We Love Birds (@welovebirdspage) on

Feb 20, 2016 at 10:29am PST

 


Because of their solid, slightly rotund body (well suited to diving), the puffins must work hard to stay airborne. Once they're up in the air, their wings can flap up to an astonishing 400 times per minute! When the birds come in to nest during the spring and summer, they favour rocky outcroppings, using grass and feathers to build their home. 

In Scotland, puffins come ashore from late April until the middle of August. Once the female lays her egg, she will share the incubating duty with her mate until it hatches. It is in July that you''ll tend to see puffins carrying beak-fulls of fish to their nests to feed their young. Like the gentoo penguin, Atlantic puffins will often reunite with the same mate each year. 
 

 

A post shared by PHOFISH APP  ▶ (@phofish) on

 

About the Wild Scotland Tour 

On our Wild Scotland tour, you'll journey to the untouched wilds of the northern isles, visiting Neolithic sites over 5,000 years old, as well as charming villages, and the mighty castles which once housed Scottish clans. In addition to puffins, you're also likely to see seals going about their days with dolphins and whales surfacing nearby. 

You'll also visit the World Heritage-listed St Kilda, as well as the historic Aberdeen and Kirkwall. On Orkney Island, you'll encounter the village of Skara Brae, the Stone Age settlement, where you will walk the ground where villagers would have been going about their daily lives thousands of years ago. 

Take a stroll through a traditional crofting village, and ponder at the mysterious standing stones - there's no end to the adventures Scotland can provide. 

Related Expeditions

  • Save up to 15%*

    Expedition - Arctic Complete - Spitsbergen, Greenland & Iceland

    Arctic Complete - Spitsbergen, Greenland & Iceland

    23/25 DAYS from AU$14,670 per person

    Combine two exciting Arctic itineraries into one 25-day adventure! From the wildlife oasis of Spitsbergen to Greenland’s iceberg fantasia, make your Arctic expedition complete (and save!).

    View Expedition Details
  • Save up to 15%*

    Expedition - Jewels of the Arctic

    Jewels of the Arctic

    13/14/15 DAYS from AU$12,000 per person

    Halfway between Spitsbergen and Iceland, East Greenland’s coastline invites you to explore its breathtaking environment made of the world’s largest icebergs, welcoming Inuit communities and diverse fauna and flora.

    View Expedition Details
  • Save up to 20%*

    Expedition - Svalbard Odyssey

    Svalbard Odyssey

    11/13 DAYS from AU$13,100 per person

    Circumnavigate Spitsbergen and experience a world filled with deep shimmering fjords, polar deserts, old whaling settlements and magnificent wildlife, including the mighty polar bear.

    View Expedition Details
  • Wild Scotland

    11 DAYS from AU$10,700 per person

    Join us on one of our wildest adventures: walk in the Vikings’ footsteps, explore fantastic sea caves, land on World-heritage listed St Kilda and observe the world’s largest seabird colonies!

    View Expedition Details
Processing...
×