The Southern Ocean is a mecca for seabirds. Many species can be seen on short pelagic trips from southern Africa, but others require more extensive voyages to the south. The highlight of any such voyage is a visit to one of the sub-Antarctic islands that are scattered through the Southern Ocean. Although they support relatively few species, they are home to huge seabird colonies as well as some highly restricted island endemics. There are two main groups of islands off southern Africa: the Tristan da Cunha archipelago and Gough Island (dependencies of Saint Helena which is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom) in the central South Atlantic, and the Prince Edward Islands (administered by South Africa) in the south-west Indian Ocean. Further south lie Bouvet and the Antarctic continent, which support even fewer species, but these include several spectacular and sought-after birds. Together, more than 50 species of seabirds breed in the African sector of the Southern Ocean, and several other species regularly visit these waters.
This country account for Tristan da Cunha serves to provide birders with up to date information about birds and birding in the area. This account has been provided by Peter Ryan using a variety of resources as shown in the references section. The aim is such that this document is dynamic in that birders who have recently visited the region can add their own accounts and contributions. We therefore encourage readers to email new information to [email protected].