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Phoebetria palpebrata (Light-mantled albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross) 

Swartkopalbatros [Afrikaans]; Swartkopmalmok [Afrikaans]; Roetkopalbatros [Dutch]; Albatros fuligineux [French]; Heller rußalbatroß [German]; Albatroz-de-dorso-cinzento [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

Phoebetria palpebrata (Light-mantled albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross)   

Light-mantled sooty albatross, South Georgia. [photo Caoimhe G ©]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds on sub-Antarctic Islands, dispersing across the southern Oceans but generally staying below 40° South. It is a winter vagrant to southern African waters, as there are six records of stranded birds along the coast of South Africa and southern Mozambique, all within the period from May-September.


It mainly eats fish, crustaceans, squid, crustaceans, carrion and tunicates, foraging by grabbing prey from the surface of the water or occasionally plunging in to greater depths. It also regularly follows ships, feeding on food that they leave behind.


Near-threatened, probably due to mortalities on longlines and other harmful interactions with fisheries.


  • 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.