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Antarctic Prion - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Absolute_beginner
Scotia sea, South Georgia, December 2015

Alternative name: Dove Prion

Pachyptila desolata


25–28 cm (9¾-11 in)

  • Grey or greyish-blue upperparts
  • Bluish-grey patch on back and side of neck (sharply demarcated)
  • Slate-grey forehead and crown
  • Strong black mark around the eye
  • Tail band is relatively narrow
  • Bill: wider at the base than near the tip

Similar Species

Similar to most other prions in general pattern.


South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia
South America: Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina
Western Africa: Angola
Southern Africa: Namibia, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Greater Sundas, Java,
Australasia: New Guinea, Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia,Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, New Zealand
Antarctica: South Georgia Island, South Sandwich Island, South Orkney Island, South Shetland Island, Tristan da Cunha.

They breed on South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, the South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands, Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen, Heard Island, Macquarie Island, Auckland Island, and Scott Island.



There are three subspecies[1]:

  • P. d. desolata:
  • Crozet, Kerguelen and Macquarie islands
  • P. d. altera:
  • Auckland and Heard islands
  • P. d. banksi:
  • Scotia Archaepelago, South Georgia, South Sandwich and Scott islands


Seas and coastal areas.



They nest on exposed rock faces of cliffs, in cavities under boulders or in short twisting burrows in soft grass-covered slopes. A single egg is incubated by both parents for 45 days.


They feed from the surface of the sea and the diet includes crustaceans and krill.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Australian Antarctic Division
  4. Birdforum thread discussing ID of prions
  5. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2014)

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.