Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Slender-billed Prion (Pachyptila belcheri)


French: Prion de Belcher German: Dünnschnabel-Sturmvogel Spanish: Prión picofino
Other common names: Thin-billed Prion

Heteroprion belcheri


, 1912,

Geelong, Victoria, Australia


Occasionally regarded as a subspecies of P. vittata. Has been considered conspecific with P. desolata; the two possibly hybridize at Kerguelen, although evidence largely circumstantial, based mainly on overlap in bill structure. Monotypic.


Southern Ocean, breeding on Noir I (off S Chile) and Falkland Is, and also Crozet Is and Kerguelen Is.

Descriptive notes

25–28 cm; 112–192 g; wingspan 56 cm. Thin-billed prion with comparatively little black on tail and sharply contrasting white superciliary. Upperparts pearl... read more


Vocal only at night, although activity declines notably on moonlight nights, both because fewer non... read more


Marine and pelagic, but during breeding often feeds inshore or in shallow offshore waters,... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly crustaceans (> 95% by mass), with heavy dependence on amphipods (Themisto gaudichaudii), but also some euphausiids;... read more


Best studied on Falkland Is (on New I), with additional data from Kerguelen Is. Starts Oct/Nov, with return to colony commencing in mid Aug... read more


Disperses widely over Southern Ocean after breeding, generally absent from colonies Mar–Sept... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population probably well in excess 2,000,000 pairs and possibly 7,000,000 birds; up to 1,000,000–2,000,000 pairs have... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F., de Juana, E. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Slender-billed Prion (Pachyptila belcheri). 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 25 February 2020).