web analytics
Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

 

Pelagic Birding is a rather specific ‘art’ or aspect of birding, and it basically refers to an ocean-going trip taken on a boat in search of true ocean-going species, such as albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm petrels, etc. This is usually done as a day trip but can be slightly longer. These species are almost never seen from land (except during extreme conditions when they get blown close to shore), and in order to see them one has to travel out into the ocean. Due to the rather unpredictable nature of the weather and sea conditions on the day itself, each pelagic excursion is scheduled over two days, with the second day acting as a backup.

Pelagic birding offers some of the most exciting birding out there – as one quite simply never knows what will turn up! These species are known to travel vast distances in search of food and spend the vast majority of their lives out at sea, traversing the world’s oceans. The possibilities can literally be anything! The sight alone of these unique birds with their incredible flying skills and aerial prowess is quite simply awe-inspiring, and they leave us marveling at their capabilities time after time.

The port city, Cape Town, off South Africa’s south-western coast, is world-renowned for its pelagic birding. This is due to the rich waters located off Cape Town resulting from the meeting of the Benguela and Agulhas currents. This quite simply attracts a large number of fish and, in turn, the many pelagic species that feed on these fish. This whole process is augmented by the many fishing vessels operating in these waters, which attract even more birds. Birding Ecotours now run regular scheduled pelagic birding trips off Cape Town, and we will soon start arranging pelagic outings in other Southern African destinations (such as Inhambane in Mozambique, Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and Walvis Bay in Namibia), and also in other parts of the world such as off Lima along the Peruvian coast and off the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

 

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

 

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

 

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

 

There are some seasonal differences during pelagics, and the austral summer brings in a few northern hemisphere species, such as Cory’s and Great Shearwaters, European Storm Petrel, etc., while the austral winter brings in many of the true Antarctic species from further south, such as Antarctic Prion, Cape Petrel, etc. One can experience a great day out at sea during any time of the year; however, the most productive months must be the period ranging from June/July through October. Here the regular frontal systems from the south bring in many rare and ‘exotic’ species from further afield, and the waters off Cape Town are regularly packed with thousands of birds – a true sight to behold!

 

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

 

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present in small numbers during the austral summer months

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present during the austral summer months

 

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer.

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer

 

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

 

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

 

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

 

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

 

Our upcoming schedule for 2017 is as follows:

  • 29/30 April — 4 places remaining
  • 27/28 May
  • 10/11 June
  • 15/16 July
  • 19/20 August
  • 16/17 September
  • 14/15 October
  • 18/19 November

 

For more information on these pelagic outings, please click on the link below:

Information Cape Pelagic Trip

 

Seasonality Table (click to enlarge):

Seasonality table.xlsx


Comoros Birding Tours

The Comoros is a sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar, comprising the islands of Grande Comore, Mohéli, and Anjouan. With 17 endemic species and a large number of endemic subspecies, these islands have much to offer as a birding destination. In addition, they are a wonderful travel destination, set in rugged volcanic landscapes fringed by idyllic tropical beaches, and linked by good air and road infrastructure.

Karthala Scops Owl by Alan van Norman - Comoros and Mayotte birding tour

Birding Tour Comoros and Mayotte 2017

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 30, 2017
Date End: October 10, 2017
Tour Start:: Moroni, Grand Comoro
Tour End:: Dzaoudzi, Mayotte
Price: €4519 per person sharing
Summary: Our Birding Tour Comoros and Mayotte will visit all three islands of the Comoros as well as the island of Mayotte. Although Mayotte is a department and region of France, traditional Mayotte culture and eco...

See full tour detail
Karthala Scops Owl by Alan van Norman - Comoros and Mayotte birding tour

Birding Tour Comoros and Mayotte 2018

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 30, 2018
Date End: October 10, 2018
Tour Start:: Moroni, Grand Comoro
Tour End:: Dzaoudzi, Mayotte
Price: €4519 per person sharing (These are 2017 prices; 2018 prices are expected to be 5 - 10% higher.)
Summary: Our Birding Tour Comoros and Mayotte will visit all three islands of the Comoros as well as the island of Mayotte. Although Mayotte is a department and region of France, traditional Mayotte culture and eco...

See full tour detail

Featured Guide - To be assigned

...

See guide details

Download Tour Itineraries



Request More Info

Gallery for Country

What our clients say

I would like to thank the Birding Ecotours Company for all the careful attention they gave to our needs in the Capetown Area. They helped us have a wonderful time in Capetown, as we wanted to do some birding as well as see the Wine Country. The Bird Guide they supplied us with was Mr. Mark Harrington, who has a wonderful knowledge of the area and its Flora and Fauna. Mark took us to areas we would have never known of on our own, and found a great many birds for us, as well as several good spots to eat. His personality is exceptional, and his company was a real pleasure. I can highly recommend his services. We have birded in many countries, and meeting Mark was one of the highlights of our trip. Very Truly Yours,

James E. Reveley, DDS, Texas



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

Back to Top

Switch to our mobile site