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

44. Fairy Prion — (Pachyptila turtur) — Plate 17

page 48

44. Fairy Prion
(Pachyptila turtur)
Plate 17

Field Characters: 56/25. A small bluish-grey petrel with conspicuous black open ‘M’ marking over wings and broadly black-tipped tail. Headparts uniformly blue-grey, lacking any pattern or conspicuous neck collar. Underparts completely white.

Bill and feet blue, webs pale grey or cream coloured.

Differs from the Broad-billed (42) and Antarctic (43) Prions by its smaller size, lack of facial pattern, small bill and large amount of black on the tail (darkens all the tail feathers). Cannot be distinguished from the rare Fulmar Prion (47) at sea.

Swift, erratic gliding flight. Common in large scattered flocks weaving low over the water. Widely distributed and common in New Zealand waters north of the subtropical convergence. Does not follow ships.

Summer breeder on many offshore islands from Poor Knights (North Auckland) to Foveaux Strait. Abundant in the Hauraki Gulf and Cook Strait.