In this picture the larger gulls give an idea of the fairy prions’ size – at just 125 grams, they are the smallest prions. Prions are also known as whale birds from their habit of flocking around whales, which have a similar diet. With over a million breeding pairs of fairy prions, New Zealand has half the world’s population of this species. Flocks of around a thousand birds are common in Cook Strait and elsewhere. They have a dark ‘M’ pattern across their wings, and as they fly they twist and turn in unison, flicking in and out of sight against the waves.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Rod Morris
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