Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Tufted Puffin Does Not Require Endangered Species Act Protections
Majority of the known population appears to demonstrate stable or increasing trends

December 2, 2020

Contact(s):

Andrea Medeiros, andrea_medeiros@fws.gov, 907-786-3695


Tufted puffins with heads above grass.

Tufted Puffins Credit: Steve Ebbert/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the tufted puffin, a charismatic seabird of the North Pacific Ocean, does not warrant listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The finding follows a comprehensive review of the best available science for the species.

The tufted puffin adult is a small black bird with a distinctive white mask, large, bright orange bill and golden tuffs of feathers on either side of its head. It fishes the deep open ocean for much of the year, but in summer months can be seen nesting in burrows on islands and cliffs along the coast from California north to British Columbia and Alaska, as well as Russia and Japan.

The most recent range-wide estimate of the species is approximately 3,000,000 individuals, and about 82 percent of the known population appears to demonstrate stable or increasing trends.

Tufted puffins are impacted by a variety of threats; however, climate change and oil spills pose the biggest threat to the species. The Service’s status review found that tufted puffins are undergoing a range contraction, specifically on the southern end of their range, but that the species continues to be widely distributed across the northern part of its range and maintains high overall abundance. Models predict the species will remain widely distributed throughout most of its historical range.

"The tufted puffin is an essential member of the coastal and marine ecosystems in which it resides,” said Stewart Cogswell, supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Anchorage Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. “Although the species does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act, we will continue to work with others to monitor and conserve this iconic seabird throughout its range.”

More information regarding this listing determination is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2020-26139/endangered-and-threatened-species-eleven-species-not-warranted-for-listing

For more information regarding the Service’s listing petition process, visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/listing-petition-process.html.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.