Antarctic Prion Pachyptila desolata


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
Brooke (2004) estimated the global population to number around 50,000,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline as a result of predation by invasive species.

Distribution and population

The Antarctic Prion breeds on islands in the southern oceans, including the the Crozet Islands and Kerguelen Island (French Southern Territories), Macquarie Island and Heard Island (Australia), the Auckland Islands (New Zealand), South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Sandwich del Sur), Scott Island and the Scotia Archipelago. All birds leave the colonies after breeding, dispersing from pack ice in Antartica to as far north as Peru, and also occuring off South Africa and Australia.


This species breeds on slopes under grass tussocks, in rock crevices or scree, or on cliffs. Its prey is mostly crustaceans (especially krill, copepods and amphipods), but also small quantities of fish and squid (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


This species is experiencing declines due to a number of invasive species. The Antarctic Prion appears to be unable to successfully nest in the presence of Brown Rats on South Georgia, and possibly in other parts of the range (Marchant and Higgins 1990). Feral pigs and cats are known to kill large numbers on the Auckland Islands.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Fjagesund, T., Calvert, R., Hermes, C., Martin, R., Newton, P., Stuart, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Pachyptila desolata. Downloaded from on 06/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/06/2023.