Dow's puffin
Fratercula-dowii 653x600
An artist's illustration of Fratercula Dowi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Fratercula
Species: F. dowi
Binomial name
Fratercula dowi
Guthrie, Thomas & Kennedy, 2000

Dow's puffin (Fratercula dowi), is an extinct species of seabird in the Alcidae family described in 2000 from subfossil remains found in the Channel Islands of California.

The remains include articulated skeletons and several thousand disarticulated bones. They were found in a Late Pleistocene eolianite horizon on the islands of San Nicolas and San Miguel. They date from between 12,000 and 100,000 BP and, as well as associated eggshells, include both adult and immature birds that apparently died in their burrows at their breeding colonies.


A relatively small puffin, Dow's puffin is intermediate regarding the extent of dorsoventral expansion of the rostrum and mandible, between living puffins of the genus Fratercula, and the closely related rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata). Both the common name and the specific epithet honour Ronald J. Dow who provided assistance and logistical support for the paleontological work carried out on San Nicolas Island.