Northern Gannet

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Northern Gannet
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Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Pelecaniformes
Family:Sulidae
Genus:Morus
Species:M. bassanus
Binomial name
Morus bassanus
Linnaeus, 1758

The Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus or Sula bassana) is a large seabird of the gannet family, Sulidae.

Young birds are dark brown in their first year, and gradually acquire more white in subsequent seasons until they reach maturity after five years.

Adults are 87-100 cm long and have a 165-180 cm wingspan. Their plumage is white with black wing tips. The bill is light blueish. An eye is light blue, and it is surrounded by bare, black skin. During breeding, the head and neck are brushed in a delicate yellow.

Their breeding habitat is the North Atlantic. They normally nest in large colonies on cliffs overlooking the ocean or small rocky islands. The largest colony of this bird, with over 60,000 birds, is found on Bonaventure Island, Quebec, but 68% of the world population breeds around the coasts of Great Britain.

Gannet pairs may remain together over several seasons. They perform elaborate greeting rituals at the nest, stretching their bills and necks skywards and gently tapping bills together.

They are migratory and most winter at sea, heading further south in the Atlantic.

These birds are spectacular divers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish which gather in groups near the surface. Although they are powerful and agile fliers, they are particularly clumsy in takeoffs and landings.

Although Northern Gannet populations are now stable, their numbers were once greatly reduced due to loss of habitat, removal of eggs and killing of adults.da:Sule de:Basstölpel nl:Jan-van-gent pl:Głuptak fi:Suula

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Gannet2.jpg
Northern Gannet on Helgoland
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Northern Gannet on Helgoland
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Gannet8a.jpg
Northern Gannet in flight
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