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Little Brother of the North The scientific name for the Atlantic puffin is Fratercula arctica The first Latin word fratercula means little brother Puffins earned this title because they clasp their webbed feet together when they come out of the water and look as if they are praying Arctica means north or northern Therefore the translation for the scientific name Fratercula arctica is little brother of the north Often these little brothers of the north are confused with another familiar seabird the penguin But puffins and penguins are not related Common puffins spend their lives in the northern hemisphere in the north Atlantic Ocean Penguins on the other hand live in the southern hemisphere Unlike puffins penguins have small wi ngs and cannot fly They also lack the colorful beaks found in puffins These two types of birds would never meet in the wild One reason that these seabirds are confused is that they have similar body coloration They both have a black back and a white belly This is actually a very important form of camouflage called countershading It is found in many open ocean animals If a puffin were sitting in the water and a predator flew over it the black back feathers would blend in with the water which appears dark from above Or if a shark were swimming beneath it and looked up the white belly of the bird would blend in with t he sunlight above the water So puffins penguins and many other open ocean animals are camouflaged from above and from below But if puffins are not related to penguins who are their relatives Puffins belong to the family of seabirds known as alcids or auks Close relatives include razorbills and guillemots There are two other types of puffins in existence the horned puff in and the tufted puffin While common puffins only live in the Atlantic Ocean tufted and horned puffins live in the Pacific
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