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Tuatara: Volume 21, Issues 1 and 2 (New Zealand Albatrosses and Petrels: an Identification Guide)

42. Broad-Billed Prion — (Pachyptila vittata) — Plate 17

42. Broad-Billed Prion
(Pachyptila vittata)
Plate 17

Field Characters: 59/31. A small, bluish-grey petrel with a conspicuous black open ‘M’ marking across the uppersurface of the wings, and a black tip to the central tail feathers. The broad, thick bill, dark lores and eye patch, together with a tapering, incomplete neck collar, are easily seen at close range. Undersurface completely white.

Bill glossy black, feet pale blue with grey coloured webs.

Differs from the Fairy Prion (44) by its larger size, broad, deep bill and dark head parts.

Flight is very erratic and weaving, with gliding and swooping close to the sea's surface. Large feeding flocks are common in subtropical waters and near breeding stations. Does not follow ships.

Breeds in early summer on several islands about Foveaux Strait and at the Chathams. Also breeds at Gough and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic.