Bird Watching: Pelagic Birds Southern Africa


The nutrient-rich, and rather cold, Benguela Current wells up at the continental shelf south-west of Cape Town. It brings plankton from the southern oceans of Antarctica and creates excellent feeding for pelagic fish and a feeding frenzy for pelagic birds in southern Africa.

These rich waters provide some of the best and most exciting pelagic encounters in the world.


A day trip to the continental shelf, between 30 and 35 nautical miles south-west of the Cape often rewards the visitor with an incredible density of pelagic birds. Between 5,000 and 10,000 seabirds around a trawler is an amazing – and common – sight.

The abundance of pelagic birds reaches its climax during the winter months of May, June and July when southern breeding birds visit these nutrient-rich waters off Cape Town.

Whether it’s summer or winter, you will not be disappointed. Birds likely to be seen include several species of Albatrosses, Petrels, Skuas, Prions, Fulmars and Gulls

Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.