Prion (Fairy) Pachyptila turtur
Species: P. turtur
Binomial name: Pachyptila turtur
Common names: Fairy prion, Dove prion, tītī wainui, titi wainui,
Pachyptila turtur (Fairy prion) is a small seabird found throughout oceans and coastal areas in the Southern Hemisphere.
Fairy prions breed on the Poor Knights Islands, islands in the outer Marlborough Sounds (especially Stephens Island, Trio Islands and The Brothers), rock stacks and islets off the West Coast (including the Open Bay Islands), Motunau Island, rock stacks off Banks Peninsula, cliff ledges on Otago Peninsula and nearby Green Island, many islands in Foveaux Strait and around Stewart Island, Mangere Island and at least six smaller islands in the Chatham Islands, the Snares Islands, Antipodes Island and Macquarie Island. They may also breed on islets off Campbell Island. Elsewhere, fairy prions breed on islands off Victoria and Tasmania, Australia, and on islands in the Kerguelen, Crozet, St Paul, Prince Edward, Marion, South Georgia and Falkland archipelagos. Vagrants have been found at the Kermadec Islands, Papua New Guinea, South America and South Africa. They are most often seen over the open sea near breeding colonies and rarely enter sheltered coastal waters. (www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz)
The Fairy prion has the standard prion plumage of black upperparts and white underneath with an "M" wing marking. It is the smallest prion and it measures between 23 and 28 cm long. They have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. As a member of the Procellariiformes, they produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. The proventriculus is the narrow glandular first region of a bird's stomach between the crop and the gizzard. This oil is used against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights. Finally, they also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a high saline solution from their nose. Their diet consists mainly of planktonic crustaceans and other tiny sea animals, which they feed at night from the water's surface.
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