Puffins of the Isle of Lunga: The Charismatic ‘Sea Parrots’

Puffins of the Isle of Lunga: The Charismatic ‘Sea Parrots’

Located in the Treshnish Isles of Scotland, Lunga is a haven not only for wildlife enthusiasts but also for conservationists, who are passionate about preserving the charismatic puffins that live there. These striking birds, with their iconic bright beaks and comically thoughtful expressions, draw visitors from around the globe, making them a cornerstone species for eco-tourism and bird-watching.

As a wildlife photographer, capturing the essence of the puffins on Lunga is an exhilarating challenge. These birds, although small, are bursting with personality. From their quirky waddle to their impressive flying skills, puffins embody the spirit of the wild coastlines they inhabit. Each spring, they return to Lunga by the thousands, carpeting the rugged cliffs in a spectacle of black, white, and orange.

Puffins are more than just photogenic; they are a symbol of the fragile beauty of our coastal ecosystems. They nest in burrows, laying a single egg per year, which makes each puffin chick’s survival crucial for maintaining stable populations. The grass-topped cliffs of Lunga provide the perfect nursery for these families, offering protection from predators and proximity to the rich fishing grounds of the Atlantic.

Lunga is home to an estimated 4,500 puffins and they are successfully breeding compared to other locations that are showing a decline in population.  You only get a couple of hours on the island (which goes quickly), so it’s important to spend every minute taking as many photos as possible!

Photographing these birds as they interact with their mates, skirmish over territory, or return from the sea with beaks full of fish is not just an artistic pursuit; it’s a form of storytelling. Through my lens, I aim to share these stories to highlight the importance of their conservation. The challenges puffins face, from climate change to overfishing, are stark, but their resilience and adaptability offer hope.

In conclusion, the puffins of the Isle of Lunga offer a window into the soul of Scotland’s wild islands. For those who seek to connect with nature and inspire conservation, a trip to Lunga is not just a journey; it’s a pilgrimage. By supporting eco-tourism and puffin conservation, we help ensure that these birds continue to grace our world with their charm and vibrant colours, and that the Isle of Lunga remains a bastion of natural wonder.


Scientific Name: Fratercula artica 
Length: 26-29cm
Wingspan: 47-63cm
Weight: 320-480g
Average lifespan: 18 years

Conservation Status

Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review

When To See

March – August


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