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the web of life in southern Africa

Phoebetria fusca (Sooty albatross, Dark-mantled sooty albatross) 

Bruinalbatros [Afrikaans]; Bruinmalmok [Afrikaans]; Zwarte … [Dutch]; Albatros brun [French]; Dunkler rußalbatroß [German]; Albatroz-sombrio [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Diomedeidae

Distribution and habitat

Breeds on temperate and sub-Antarctic islands in the southern oceans, dispersing in the non-breeding season across areas from 30-60° South. In southern Africa it occurs in oceanic waters far off the south and south-western coast of South Africa, although it is a rare vagrant closer to the coast.

Movements and migrations

Little known but it is present year-round in southern Africa, although most birds return to their colonies in early September so that the chicks can fledge in May.


Its southern African diet is unknown, however at its breeding colonies it mainly eats fish, squid, crustaceans, jellyfish and carrion, doing most of its foraging by seizing prey from the water surface.


Previously considered Vulnerable, it is now has a status of Endangered, as mortalities on longlines have seriously decreased its population to approximately 14 000 breeding pairs.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.