Northern Gannet

Northern Gannet

Family: Sulidae

Scientific name: Morus bassanus

Description: Large white bird with black wing tips and pointed white tail. Total length is around 94cm and width 1.80cm.

Distribution: Common on the east coast of . In late march they come from the south-east coast of the to the dozens of islands and capes of Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Laurence where they nest.

Habitat: They roost and feed in coastal and open-ocean waters most of the year.

Nesting: They nest on island sea cliffs where the male builds a tall mount of seaweed, vegetation and dirt held together with droppings. The parents share the incubation and raising duties of a pale blue to white egg.

Diet: Feed on herring, mackerel capelin and squid. They may also steal from other birds or scavenge from fishing boats.

Interesting facts: Gannets are Newfoundland’s largest seabirds. Adults are white- young are brown with white flecks. They have short legs and large webbed feet, therefore clumsy on land. They are fast and powerful flier but awkward at landing and taking off. The Northern Gannet’s reinforced skull has evolved to cushion the brain from diving impacts.


mbassanus02 - Cape St. Marys Gannet colony