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2766A new species of prion on Gough Island?

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  • Bob Conrich
    May 9, 2014
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      Group member "elarbe" submitted this article in French, merci. Yahoo wouldn't
      let me approve it. Below is a rather poor English translation. A photo of the
      bird can be seen at:

      Perhaps someone can tell us what's involved in confirming, or not, that this
      is an undescribed species.


      Is there a species of prion undescribed on Gough Island?

      Ornithologists have observed on this island Pray Forster in much narrower nose and reproducing later
      than typical birds.


      Prions (genus Pachyptila ) are abundant seabirds in the Southern Ocean. The distinction between
      species is largely based on the differences in size and structure of their beaks. The Prion Forster
      ( P. vittata ) is the largest (length 25-30 cm, wingspan 57-66 cm). The back is gray and is marked
      with a black area forming an "M". The underside is whitish. It differs from Prion Desolation (
      Pachyptila desolata ) by the smallest of its tail black mark, darker and larger and generally a
      larger breast band head.

      It nests in colonies on Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha, Chatham and Antipodes and in the archipelago
      of New Zealand. Its broad and flattened measures on average 21 to 22 mm wide beak.

      In an article published in 2014 in the journal Polar Biology, several ornithologists observed on the
      island of Gough Pray Forster beak significantly (15%) narrower than typical adults, with a width
      ranged from 18 to 19 mm, or between 16 and 17 mm. Their beak was also slightly (1-2%) shorter, as
      their head and wings, and upper mandible was blue.

      On the other hand, these prions narrow beak recurrence three months later than typical birds,
      suggesting that the difference in width nose is not a simple case of polymorphism: these they assume
      the existence of Gough of a species of prion undescribed?

      Graham Ekins gallery on Flickr: Graham Ekins Photography


      Peter G. Ryan, Karen Bourgeois, Sylvain Dromzee and Ben J. Dilley (2014). The occurrence of two bill
      morphs of prions Pachyptila vittata on Gough Island. Polar Biology. Volume 37, Number 5, pages
      727-735. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00300-014-1473-2

      Robert S. Conrich, ACIArb
      Box 666
      Anguilla bob@...
      British West Indies Tel: 1 264 497 2505