Pachyptila is a genus of seabirds in the family Procellariidae and the order Procellariiformes. The members of this genus and the blue petrel form a sub-group called prions. They range throughout the southern hemisphere, often in the much cooler higher latitudes. Three species, the broad-billed prion (Pachyptila vittata), the Antarctic prion (Pachyptila desolata) and the fairy prion (Pachyptila turtur), range into the subtropics.

Pachyptila
Slender-billed Prion.jpg
Slender-billed prion
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Procellariidae
Genus: Pachyptila
Illiger, 1811
Type species
Procellaria vittata (broad-billed prion)
Species

TaxonomyEdit

The genus Pachyptila was introduced in 1811 by the German zoologist Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger.[1] The name combines the Ancient Greek pakhus meaning "dense" or "thick" with ptilon meaning "feather" or "plumage".[2] The type species was subsequently designated as the broad-billed prion by English naturalist Prideaux John Selby in 1840.[3][4] The English name "prion" comes from the Ancient Greek πριόνι (prióni, "saw"), in reference to the serrated edges of its bill.[5]

All the members of this genus, along with the rest of the Procellariiformes, share certain identifying features. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns, although the nostrils on the albatross are on the sides of the bill. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between seven and nine horny plates. The genus produces a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This can be sprayed out of their mouths as a defence against predators and as an energy-rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.[6] Finally, they also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps free their bodies of the salt in the seawater they often imbibe. The gland excretes a concentrated saline solution from the nose.[7]

SpeciesEdit

The genus contains the following six species.[8]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
  Pachyptila turtur fairy prion breeds on subtropical and subantarctic islands[9]
  Pachyptila belcheri slender-billed prion breeds on Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Falkland Islands, and Noir Island[9]
  Pachyptila crassirostris fulmar prion breeds on Snares Islands, Bounty Island, Chatham Islands, Heard Island and the Auckland Islands[9]
  Pachyptila vittata broad-billed prion breeds on islands near New Zealand and the Tristan da Cunha group[9]
  Pachyptila desolata Antarctic prion breeds Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Heard Island, the Scotia Archipelago, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, Scott Island Auckland Island and Macquarie Island[9]
  Pachyptila salvini Salvin's prion breeds on Prince Edwards Islands, Crozet Islands, Amsterdam Island and St. Paul Island[9]

BehaviourEdit

The members of this genus primarily eat zooplankton by filtering water through their upper bill. Some even hydroplane, a technique where they filter food out the water while flying with their bill in the ocean. They breed colonially, and do so near the ocean, usually with the same mate for life. Both sexes help incubate the egg, and care for the chick.[10]

Range and habitatEdit

They are pelagic and seldom come to land, except to breed. Also, they all stay in the Southern Hemisphere, and breed on subantarctic islands except the fairy prion which breeds on subtropical islands.[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Illiger, Johann Karl Wilhelm (1811). Prodromus systematis mammalium et avium (in Latin). Berolini [Berlin]: Sumptibus C. Salfeld. p. 274.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 288. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ Selby, Prideaux John (1840). A Catalogue of the Generic and Sub-Generic Types of the Class Aves, Birds, Arranged According to the Natural System. Newcastle: T. and J. Hodgson. p. 49.
  4. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William, eds. (1979). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 79.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 316. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ Double, M. C. (2003)
  7. ^ Ehrlich, Paul R. (1988)
  8. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Petrels, albatrosses". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Clements, James (2007)
  10. ^ Maynard, B. J. (2003)

SourcesEdit

  • Brands, Sheila (14 Aug 2008). "Systema Naturae 2000 / Classification - Genus Pachyptila". Project: The Taxonomicon. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  • Clements, James (2007). The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World (6 ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4501-9.
  • Double, M. C. (2003). "Procellariiformes (Tubenosed Seabirds)". In Hutchins, Michael; Jackson, Jerome A.; Bock, Walter J.; Olendorf, Donna (eds.). Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. Vol. 8 Birds I Tinamous and Ratites to Hoatzins. Joseph E. Trumpey, Chief Scientific Illustrator (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. pp. 107–111. ISBN 0-7876-5784-0.
  • Ehrlich, Paul R.; Dobkin, David, S.; Wheye, Darryl (1988). The Birders Handbook (First ed.). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. pp. 29–31. ISBN 0-671-65989-8.
  • Maynard, B. J. (2003). "Shearwaters, petrels, and fulmars (Procellariidae)". In Hutchins, Michael; Jackson, Jerome A.; Bock, Walter J.; Olendorf, Donna (eds.). Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. Vol. 8 Birds I Tinamous and Ratites to Hoatzins. Joseph E. Trumpey, Chief Scientific Illustrator (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. pp. 123–133. ISBN 0-7876-5784-0.