Best time to travel to Quebec

Atlantic Puffins in Quebec 2024

Meet Quebec's sea parrots, one of the most charismatic bird species

Best time: April–August

Atlantic Puffins
Atlantic Puffins

Côte-Nord, Îles de la Madeleine, Gaspésie, and Bas Saint Laurent attract thousands of bird watchers, mostly because of one kind of bird. Atlantic Puffins are called the “clowns of the sea” and “sea parrots” because of their remarkable orange beaks and penguin-like breasts.

These pigeon-sized birds are not very confident while flying, so when you visit, they will mostly be found in the water or hopping around the coast. The period between April and August is the perfect time to observe these birds, while they breed in the maritime regions of Québec. At that time both partners incubate the eggs, and one month later baby puffins leave the nest.

Atlantic puffins usually inhabit the northern hemisphere, Quebec is one of the most easily accessible places in Canada to see these adorable birds.

Practical info

When is the optimal period to go to Quebec to observe the Atlantic Puffin?

If you want to experience Atlantic Puffins, it's best to go to Quebec between April and August, during their breeding period. During this period, both male and female birds look after their eggs and later their chicks. This is when the charming birds can be witnessed hopping around the coast and in the water. Show more

What are the recommended areas to spot an Atlantic Puffin in Quebec?

Côte-Nord, Îles de la Madeleine, Gaspésie, and Bas Saint Laurent are the best regions to observe Atlantic Puffins in Quebec. These areas attract birdwatchers from all over the world who are fascinated by the puffins' striking orange beaks and penguin-like breasts. During your visit, you're more likely to see the pigeon-sized birds in the water or bopping around the coast. Show more

During which period do Atlantic Puffins breed in Quebec?

Quebec's Atlantic Puffins breed from April to August. During this period, both male and female take care of the eggs and one month later clutch of fowl is hatched. Atlantic Puffins can commonly be found swimming in the water or bouncing on the coast when you visit. Show more

What methods can be used to discriminate male Atlantic Puffins from female ones?

Male and female Atlantic Puffins display almost similar plumage, therefore rendering differentiation quite hard. However, males tend to be somewhat larger than females. Furthermore, males usually bring minor fish to their mates during nesting time, whilst females handle incubating the eggs. When the chicks hatch both male and female birds share the responsibility of incubating the young ones evenly. Show more

Which other ornithological species can be encountered in Quebec besides the Atlantic Puffin?

Quebec boasts lots of other bird species apart from Atlantic Puffins. Snowy owls, common eiders, belted kingfishers, great blue herons, and bald eagles are just a few examples of those species. Brown pelicans, cormorants, gannets, and herring gulls are also basic breeds in the Quebec coast. Enjoyable bird watching experiences in this region offer unique sightings of several unusual bird species. Show more

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