Pterodroma mollis (Soft-plumaged
Donsveerstormvoël [Afrikaans]; Donsstormvogel [Dutch];
Pétrel de Schlegel [French]; Schlegels sturmvogel [German]; Freira-meridional
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Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves
(birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes
> Family: Procellariidae
Soft-plumaged petrel, offshore from Cape Town, South Africa. [photo
Trevor Hardaker ©]
Distribution and habitat
Breeds on sub-Antarctic islands as well as on Maatsuyker
Island off Tasmania, after which it disperses across southern oceans from 20-50°
South, including southern African waters. Here it is common off South Africa and
southern Namibia but more scarce further north and closer to the coast.
Predators and parasites
It has been recorded as prey of
(Subantarctic skua) at its breeding colonies.
Movements and migrations
Mainly present at its breeding colonies from
August-May, hence although it is seen year-round in southern African
waters, it is most common in the period from May-October.
Mainly eats squid, supplemented with crustaceans and rarely
fish, doing most of its foraging by grabbing prey from the water surface. It
sometimes associates with dolphins and toothed whales, catching prey they
disturb or alternatively following fishing vessels to grab discards and offal.
Not threatened, although introduced predators have
decreased the population size of several of its breeding colonies.
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.