The Fulmar Prion is a member of the Pachyptila genus, and along with the Blue Petrel makes up the prions. They in turn are members of the Procellariidae family, and the Procellariiformes order. The prions are small and typically eat zooplankton; however as a member of the Procellariiformes, they share certain identifying features. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. Although the nostrils on the Prion are on top of the upper bill. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between 7 and 9 horny plates. They produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This 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 seawater that they imbibe. They excrete concentrated brine from their nostrils.
The Fulmar Prion has two sub-species,
- Pachyptila crassirostris crassirostris, which breeds on the Snares Islands, Chatham Islands, and Bounty Islands.
- Pachyptila crassirostris eatoni, which breeds on Heard Island and the Auckland Islands
Pachyptila, the word, comes from the Greek words pakhus and ptilon. Pakhus means thick or stout and ptilon means a feather. Also from the Greek language, Prion comes from the word priōn meaning a saw, which is in reference to its serrated edges of its bill. Fulmar comes from Old Norse full meaning foul and mar meaning gull in reference to their similar look to seagulls and their foul-smelling stomach oil that they produce.
Range and habitat
They have a very large range and their population while lower than most other prions, is still substantial at between 150,000 and 300,000 adult bird. Because of these numbers, the IUCN rates them as Least Concern.
- BirdLife International (2009)
- Maynard, B. J. (2003)
- Double, M. C. (2003)
- Ehrlich, Paul R. (1988)
- Clements, James (2007)
- Gotch, A. T. (1995)
- BirdLife International (2009). "Fulmar Prion Pachyptila crassirostris - BirdLife Species Factsheet". Data Zone. Retrieved 21 Jan 2013.
- 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. et al. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 8 Birds I Tinamous and Ratites to Hoatzins. Joseph E. Trumpey, Chief Scientific Illustrator (2 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.
- Gotch, A. F. (1995) . "Albatrosses, Fulmars, Shearwaters, and Petrels". Latin Names Explained A Guide to the Scientific Classifications of Reptiles, Birds & Mammals. New York, NY: Facts on File. pp. 191–192. ISBN 0-8160-3377-3.
- Maynard, B. J. (2003). "Shearwaters, petrels, and fulmars (Procellariidae)". In Hutchins, Michael; Jackson, Jerome A.; Bock, Walter J. et al. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 8 Birds I Tinamous and Ratites to Hoatzins. Joseph E. Trumpey, Chief Scientific Illustrator (2 ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. pp. 123–133. ISBN 0-7876-5784-0.