Puffin medium sized toby jug produced by Quail Ceramics of the Midlands, England, circa 2020. Puffins are any of three species of small auks in the bird genus Fratercula. These are pelagic seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water. They breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands, nesting in crevices among rocks or in burrows in the soil. All puffin species have predominantly black or black and white plumage, a stocky build, and large beaks that get brightly colored during the breeding season. Their short wings are adapted for swimming with a flying technique underwater. In the air, they beat their wings rapidly, up to 400 times per minute, in swift flight, often flying low over the ocean's surface.