home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Puffinus pacificus (Wedge-tailed shearwater) 

KeilstertpylstormvoŽl [Afrikaans]; Wigstaartpijlstormvogel [Dutch]; Puffin fouquet [French]; Keilschwanz-sturmtaucher [German]; Pardela do PacŪfico [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

Puffinus pacificus (Wedge-tailed shearwater)  Puffinus pacificus (Wedge-tailed shearwater)
Wedge-tailed shearwater, offshore from Cape Town, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Wedge-tailed shearwater. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]

Distribution and habitat

Breeds at tropical and subtropical islands in the Indian and Pacific Ocean, after which it disperses across much of these two oceans, largely excluding the area between South-East Asia and Australia and marginally extending into southern African waters. Here it is generally uncommon off Mozambique and north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal, with two vagrant records off the Eastern Cape and close to the coast of central KwaZulu-Natal.

Movements and migrations

Disperses across tropical and sub-tropical waters around its breeding colonies; it is mainly recorded in southern African waters in the period from August-March.


It mainly eats fish and squid, supplemented with insects, jellyfish and crustaceans.


Not threatened, although some colonies have greatly decreased in size due to introduced, exploitation by humans and habitat loss.


  • 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.