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Bird name:


Morus bassanus




Booby and Gannets (Sulidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Cliffs, coastal, Islands, rocky

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Colonial, Mates for life

Egg Colour:

Chalky and bluish-white becoming nest-stained.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

42 - 46

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Large, compacted mound of seaweed, grass and feathers, bound together with earth and excreta, lined with grass, seaweed and feathers.

Nest Location:

Cliff ledges and steep slopes, also on flatter ground.


Some migrate


Gannet: Large, long-winged seabird with rather stout, pointed bill, and pointed tail. Mostly white with black in wings and pale golden on head. Light coloured eye and bill with narrow black edging, and black legs and feet. Plunges headfirst into water from considerable height when feeding. Sexes similar, adult winter plumage lacks golden colour on head. Juveniles mostly brown-grey with fine, white speckling. Second year birds white below, grey above. Third and fourth year birds have more black on wings and back than adults.

Range and Habitat

Gannet: Summer breeder. Most breed on islands off Wales and Scotland, though a few coastal colonies are found in the UK and Ireland. Birds arrive in January and begin winter migration in late summer, when they are easiest to see. Inhabit open islands and coastal cliffs; otherwise found offshore.

Breeding and Nesting

Gannet: Nests in large colonies in hexagonal arrangement for maximum density; nests are reused for generations. Male chooses nest site; first breeding year is usually spent courting, which involves formal bowing and wing-spreading. Pairs may remain together for years.

Foraging and Feeding

Gannet: Eats pelagic shoaling fish up to 30 cm long, such as herring and mackerel. Usually dives dramatically from heights of 10 to 40 meters with wings folded back. Impact from dive is cushioned by a network of air-sacs between skin and muscles.


Gannet: Usually non-vocal. Feeding call a low barking "grrah, grrah, grrah" or "grrrrrou."

Similar Species

Gannet: None in range.

The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX