Where two oceans meet: distribution and offshore interactions of great-winged petrels Pterodroma macroptera and Leach’s storm petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa off southern Africa

Leachs Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) Science Article 1


During seabird surveys off southern Africa, great-winged petrel Pterodroma macroptera and Leach’s storm petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa were widespread and relatively common. Similar aerial displays, frequent (social) interactions, a tendency to ‘huddle’ in tight (mixed) gatherings and interactions during foraging inspired a study of their behaviour and distribution. Both species peaked at >2,000-m-deep ocean waters, with lower densities over the shelf and with Leach’s storm petrels (ca. 0.5 km-2) twice as abundant as great-winged petrels (ca. 0.25 km-2). The results suggest half a million great-winged petrels and well over a million Leach’s storm petrels occurring over deep waters off southern Africa. Active fishing vessels elevated background densities of petrels in some areas, indicating the utilisation of discarded material, but in most areas hardly any fisheries were encountered and on the shelf with no discernable effect on petrel densities.

Kees C. J. Camphuysen, J Ornithol (2007) 148:333-346

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