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the web of life in southern Africa

Puffinus assimilis (Little shearwater) 

Kleinpylstormvoël [Afrikaans]; Kleine Pijlstormvogel [Dutch]; Petit puffin [French]; Kleiner sturmtaucher [German]; Pardela-pequena [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: Procellariidae

Distribution and habitat

Breeds at islands off Australia and New Zealand, with other colonies on Tristan da Cunha and Gough and St. Paul Island, after which it disperses across southern oceans surrounding their breeding sites. It is fairly common in southern African waters below 37° South, while more scarce closer to the South African coast.

Movements and migrations

Little known, although mainly recorded in southern Africa from May-September. Since adults tend to regularly return to their breeding colonies in the non-breeding season, it is possible that most southern African records are of juveniles.


It mainly eats small fish, squid and crustaceans, doing most of its foraging by grabbing prey from the water surface or pursuing the animal to greater depths.


Not threatened, although negatively impacted by introduced predators at 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.