Latin name: Pachyptila crassirostris

Population: The Fulmar Prion has a large global population estimated to be 200,000 individuals.

Cites classified: Least Concern (IUCN, 2008)

Where found: The Fulmar Prion has a limited range and breeds on Heard, Auckland, Snares, Chatham and Bounty Islands.

Wingspan: 60 cm

Length: 24-28 cm

Weight: 102-185 g

Mating/Breeding: The Fulmar Prion breeds in rock crevices and cracks in coastal cliffs and boulder slopes, sometimes alongside albatrosses. The Fulmar Prion lays one egg in October/November and hatching occurs mid to late December.

Eggs: White.

Hibernation: The Fulmar Prion is largely sedentary.

Hunting Habits: The Fulmar Prion take their food by surface-seizing or shallow-diving, principally close to shore.

Feed on: Largely takes small crustaceans.

Threats: The Fulmar Prion are affected by the presence of cats, rats and pigs on some of the islands on which they breed.

Colour/Looks: The Fulmar Prion’s upperparts are pale blue-grey, with a distinct black M on the upperwings and an extensive black terminal tail-band (the broadest among the prions). The Fulmar Prion’s bill is stouter and slightly more robust than fairy prions. Predominately white underparts with poorly developed pale grey breast-sides, but quite characteristic washed slightly greyish, becoming extensively bluish at the rear, just behind the vent.

Interesting Trivia:

  • Unlike other prions, who shun the daylight hours, Fulmar Prion’s regularly perform courtship displays during the day while perched in the open.
  • Predatory skuas are uncommon in many of their breeding areas, but prions will mob a skua if it dares come near the nest area.

More info:

  • Hadoram Shirihai, A complete guide to Antarctic wildlife (2002)
  • David McGonigal & Lynn Woodworth, Antarctica and the Arctic. The complete encyclopedia (2001)
  • Tony Soper, Antarctica. A guide to the wildlife (2000)