Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Sulidae / Morus / Species
Morus bassanus  - Gannet (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Northern Gannet
  • Jan-van-Gent (Holland).
  • Fou de Bassan (France).
  • Baßtölpel (Germany).
  • Sula (Italy).
  • Alcatraz atlántico (Spain).
  • Havssula (Sweden).

(B162)

Names for newly-hatched

--

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

--

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References

Species Author

Gordon McLeod

Species Editor

Debra Bourne

Major References

B162, B163, B164, B165, B166 

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Gulls, Cormorants, Gannets, Puffins.

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

See: Oil Spill: Species Identification and Special Considerations

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Aviculture Information

Notes

--
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Head to tail:

Wingspan:

Winglength:

Adult weight General 2400-3600g (B162)
Male --
Female --
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Straight, broad and pointed, grey. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Pale grey, with black iris. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Straight, broad and pointed, grey. (B162, B164, B166)
Eyes (Iris) Pale grey, with black iris. (B162, B164, B166)

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Legs

Adult Male Short, with wide webbing between toes; dark-grey / black. (B162, B164, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Short, with wide webbing between toes; dark-grey / black. (B162, B164, B166)

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Plumage

Adult
  • Upperparts: White.
  • Head and crown: Pale yellow; Neck thick.
  • Underparts: White; throat: White.
  • Wings: White, with black wing tips (final quarter of wing length). Some black edges to wing feathers; underside (whole wing) White, with dark-grey wing tips, darkening to black at edges. 
  • Tail: Pointed, medium length; Upper and under: white with twin black strips down center.

(B162, B164, B166)

Juvenile 

(First Year)

  • Upperparts: Speckled dark brown; rump: white.
  • Wings: Speckled dark brown; underside: grey with black edges
  • Underparts: Grey.

(B162, B164, B166)

Juvenile 

(Second Year)

  • Upperparts: Dark brown, with head and neck grey-white; close to adult colour in third year.
  • Wings: White with heavy dark-brown speckling; forewing: white; wing-tips: dark brown.
  • Underparts: Pale grey.

(B162, B164, B166)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Altricial; helpless, downy, eyes closed. (B163, B166)

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year
No. of Clutches 1 (B162, B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Colony nesting, evenly spaced, close together.
  • Nest sites re-used from year to year.
  • Located on cliff ledges and steep slopes (10-200m above sea), also on flatter ground.
  • Formed of large, compacted mound of seaweed, grass and feathers, bound together with earth and excreta.
  • 30-60cm in height, with a shallow cup, but may become much higher (2m) over several years of use.
  • Cup lined with grass, seaweed and feathers.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 1. (B163, B166)
Range 1. (B163, B166)
Egg description: Narrow oval, pale translucent blueish-white. Thick, chalky covering easily stained to appear brown or black.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Incubation

42-46 days (B162, B163 ); 43-45 days. (B166)

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Hatching

Single egg.

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Fledging

84-97 days (B162, B163); 14 weeks. (B166)

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Sexual Maturity

Males Pairs form 3-5 years of age; mate 5-6 years. (B162, B163)
Females Pairs form 3-5 years of age; mate 5-6 years. (B162, B163)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dive into water to catch fish, from heights of up to 40m. Also hunt from water surface, dipping head into water to search, then ducking under to catch prey. Feeding behaviour attracts other birds to same location.(B162, B163, B166)
Newly-hatched Fed by parents. (B163)

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By both, mostly by male. (B163)
Incubation By both parents (B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by both parents; Brooded continuously for first 14 days. (B163)
Juveniles

Once fledged, solitary until join a feeding group. (B162, B163)

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific
  • Highly gregarious.
  • Nest in colonies of 10 to over 1000 birds.
  • Feeding areas frequented by groups.
  • Ritualised bowing displays to indicate nest-site ownership.
  • Nests defended, particularly by males.

(B162, B163)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Lifelong monogamy.
  • Competition (fighting and calling) intense for nesting sites near established pairs.
  • Lengthy greeting ceremonies between mated pairs, featuring bill-fencing, head shaking and calling.

(B162, B163)

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Predation in Wild

--

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Activity Patterns

  • Swim.
  • Dive underwater from air or water-surface.
  • Take off and land from water or ground.

(B166)

Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

  • Fish.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Newly-hatched

--

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Range increasing in Europe, spreading eastwards. Regular visitors to east Mediterranean. (B162)

Britain: Common in coastal regions year round. (B162, B163, B166)

London: In the London Area, a scarce visitor, with 60 records to 2000. (J322.65.w1)

Migration:

  • Partially migratory.
  • Some pairs remain at breeding latitudes all year round.
  • Other birds migrate southwards as far as tropical West Africa.

(B162)

Occasional and Accidental Spitzbergen, Bear Island, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republics, Austria, Bulgaria, Azores, Cape Verde Islands. (B162)
Introduced

--

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Habitat

  • Temperate seawaters and coastline.
  • Cliffs and isolated islands.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

None in North Atlantic area. (B162)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Increasing. (B162)

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

--

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Trade

--

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