2. The Gannet

The Northern Gannet

  • Largest seabird in the North Atlantic – has 2 metre wingspan
  • Long-lived – about 20 – 30 years or older
  • Monogamous with low divorce rate – better stats than humans
  • One of only 3 gannet colonies in Newfoundland and of only 6 in North America
  • Other colonies are in Iceland, Norway Ireland, UK and France
  • Lays a single white egg
  • Many nests contain plastic debris [fishing line, nets, strapping] that can entangle birds
  • Chicks remain in the nest for more than 3 months
  • Plunge dives from heights of up to 25 metres at rocket-speeds to catch fish
  • Feed on capelin, mackerel, herring, Atlantic saury and squid
  • Chicks – pre-fledglings [12 – 13 weeks] – are heavier than their parents
  • At 12 – 13 weeks chicks refuse food from parents and begin wing-flapping
  • In late September – early October the young jump off cliffs while the parents remain at the nest site
  • Gannets winter off the eastern North American coast – Maine to Texas – and some off the west coast of Africa



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