Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur)


French: Prion colombe German: Feensturmvogel Spanish: Prión piquicorto

Procellaria turtur


, 1820,

no locality


Probably closest to P. crassirostris, and sometimes still considered conspecific. Sometimes subdivided into two races, with nominate restricted to populations breeding close to Australia and New Zealand (and sometimes applied to Falkland Is), and race eatoni for all others#R, but uncertainty as to which race would be present at some locations; in past, name eatoni was erroneously applied to some populations of P. crassirostris#R. Several other races have been proposed, most notably subantarctica (Antipodes Is). Monotypic.


Subtropical and subantarctic waters, breeding in Falkland Is and South Georgia E through S Indian Ocean to St Paul and Kerguelen Is, and islands off SE Australia and Tasmania (including Bass Strait) and off New Zealand (S from Poor Knights, and including Snares Is and Chatham Is), S to Macquarie, Campbell and Antipodes Is.

Descriptive notes

23–28 cm; 90–175 g; wingspan 56–60 cm. Upperparts pale bluish grey, only marginally darker on forehead, crown and upper ear-coverts, usually darkest... read more


Like other prions, probably silent at sea, but extremely vocal at colonies, where birds maintain a... read more


Marine, apparently occurring mainly in offshore waters; may move inshore during stormy weather.... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly crustaceans, especially euphausiids 10–20 mm long (Nyctiphanes australis, Euphausia superba), but also... read more


Starts Sept, with return to colony, but timing is c. 1 month later in S of range (e.g. at South Georgian colonies) than in N (e.g. New... read more


Most birds leave vicinity of colony, probably moving N into subtropical waters; most common off... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population probably numbers c. 5 million birds; well in excess of 1,000,000 birds in New Zealand (where species has recently... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 March 2020).