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the web of life in southern Africa

Thalassoica antarctica (Antarctic petrel) 

Antarktiese stormvoël [Afrikaans]; Antarctische stormvogel [Dutch]; Pétrel antarctique [French]; Grauweißer sturmvogel [German]; Pintado-antárctico [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

Thalassoica antarctica (Antarctic petrel)   

Antarctic petrel, Drake Passage. [photo Rodrigo Tapia ©]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds at Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha, dispersing through the South Atlantic Ocean to the east coast of South America from 20-60° South, while it is a rare vagrant to southern African waters. Here it is mainly recorded from July-November in the south-western corner of the region, with isolated sightings off central Namibia, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.


It mainly eats squid, supplemented with fish, crustaceans and trawler offal and discards, doing most of its foraging by grabbing prey from the water surface.


Vulnerable, as its Tristan da Cunha colony has greatly reduced in size due to human exploitation and introduced rats (Rattus), while chicks on Gough Island are killed by House mice (Mus musculus).


  • 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.