• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Salvin's Prion - BirdForum Opus

Photo by derekh42
Indian Ocean (between South Africa and Crozet Is.), November 2003

Alternative names: Medium-billed Prion; Lesser Broad-billed Prion; Little Broad-billed Prion

Pachyptila salvini


25-28cm, wingspan 57-58 cm.

  • Pearl grey to bluish grey upperparts, darker on crown and forehead
  • Blackish subterminal band on rearmost scapulars and tertials, framed at rear by a narrow whitish-grey fringe
  • Blackish transversal M over spread wings
  • Grey or bluish-grey uppertail, paler on sides and broadly black at tip
  • White superciliary stripe and on side of forehead to cheek and lower face, slate grey mask from before eye to most of ear-coverts
  • White underparts except for broad dark area along central tail and small dark tips on outer primaries

Sexes similar. Juveniles have broader white tips to rear scapulars.

Similar species

Very difficult to distinguish from Broad-billed Prion at sea. Has a slightly smaller and bluer bill, the forehead is not so steep and the partial pectoral band often less conspicuous. Also very similar to Antarctic Prion. The tail is a little shorter, the bill marginally larger and the pectoral band often less noticeable.


Found in the Indian Ocean and as non-breeding in Australasian areas. Breeds on Crozet Island and Prince Edward Island.
One of the most numerous of all seabirds. Around 6 to 8 million pairs at Crozet.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Formerly included in Broad-billed Prion.


A pelagic species, usually only seen offshore except near breeding colonies. Outside breeding season in areas of upwelling. Breeds inland on highland plateaus of islands, on grassy slopes with shrubs, also in caves or crevices.


A highly gregarious species.


Feeds on crustaceans, mainly amphipods and euphausiids. Takes also squid and fish. Forages by hydroplaning and by filtering and surface seizing.


Breeding season starts in October. Breeds in huge colonies of up to 1 million birds. A burrow is often occupied by more than one pair. Lays 1 egg.


Disperses over almost all of southern Indian Ocean, ranging from South Africa to Australia. Some wander even east to New Zealand.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2022. IOC World Bird List (v 12.2) DRAFT. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.12.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334108

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.