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Fairy Prion

Fairy prion (Pachyptila turtur)

  - Titi Wainui

Fairy Prion
One of the most abundant seabirds found in New Zealand waters, generally seen more than 5 miles offshore, but in Kaikoura can be seen as close as off the Kaikoura Peninsula in certain conditions.

They are small silver-grey bird weighing only 120 grams, about a third the size of the red-billed gull, with a distinctive black "W" pattern across their back. Colonies of tens of thousands breed in burrows on Stephen's Islands and other islands in Cook Strait.

The closet colony to Kaikoura is at Motunau Island, about 70 miles south of Kaikoura. Chicks traditionally harvested by Maoris. Feeds on small krill/shrimps from the water's surface.

Note - There are 4 other species of prions which can bee seen of the Kaikoura Coast, but they are very difficult to distinguish between. The chances are that most prions seen off Kaikoura will be fairy prions.