Home PageBirds of Devon and Cornwall Gannet  

Latin name - Morus bassanus

Actually the Gannet seen around our coasts is the Northern Gannet. The Gannet is larger than any gull reaching a length of between 87 to 100cm with a wingspan of up to 180cm. Both sexes are similar in appearance - white with black wing-tips and yellow on the back of the head. Young birds are dark brown in their first year, and gradually acquire more white in subsequent seasons until they reach maturity after five years. They do not breed until they are 5 or 6 with adult birds often living to 20 years or more. Gannets have long pointed bodies, wings, tails and even beaks. They feed by plunge-diving for fish, diving into the sea from height at great speeds (up to 100 km per hour). Their breeding range is the North Atlantic but they are migratory birds with most wintering at sea, heading further south in the Atlantic. They normally nest in large colonies, on cliffs overlooking the ocean or on small rocky islands. Best place we have found to observe Gannets in our part of the world is from the headlands of Cornwall.

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