Saturday, 9 May 2009

Farore islands and puffins

The Faroe Islands or Faeroe Islands or simply Faroe(s) or Faeroes (Faroese: Føroyar, Danish: Færøerne, Norwegian: Færøyene, Old Norse/Icelandic: Færeyjar, Old Gaelic Na Scigirí ) are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately half way between Scotland and Iceland. Together with Denmark and Greenland, it forms the Kingdom of Denmark.

The Faroe Islands have been an autonomous province of Denmark since 1948. The Faroese have, over the years, taken control of most matters except defense (though they retain their own coast guard), foreign affairs and law, which remain the responsibility of Denmark.

The Faroes have close traditional ties to Iceland, Norway, Shetland, Orkney, the Outer Hebrides and Greenland. The archipelago was politically detached from Norway in 1814. The Faroes are represented in the Nordic Council as a part of the Danish delegation.

Puffins are any of three auk species (or alcids) in the bird genus Fratercula (Latin: little brother — probably a reference to their black and white plumage, which resembles monastic robes) with a brightly coloured beak in the breeding season. 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. The Tufted Puffin was formerly placed in the genus Lunda.

All puffin species have large beaks. They shed the colourful outer parts of their bills after the breeding season, leaving a smaller and duller beak. Their short wings are adapted for swimming with a flying technique under water. 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. Similarities in body shape and colour between puffins and penguins are due to convergent evolution.

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