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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Northern Gannet

Morus bassanus ORDER: SULIFORMES FAMILY: SULIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Breeding in only a few large colonies along the North Atlantic, the Northern Gannet spends most of its life at sea. Flocks engage in spectacular bouts of plunge-diving for fish, with hundreds of birds diving into the ocean from heights of up to 40 meters (130 feet).

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Appearance

Gull-like
Gull-like
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large waterbird.
  • White with black wingtips.
  • Long pointed bill.
  • Long pointed tail.
  • Long pointed wings.
  • Immatures range from all dark to mostly white.

Immature Description

Juvenile all dark, covered in white spots, and with white rump. Takes three or more years to get adult plumage; immature birds can be a mix of dark and light markings.

Range Map Help

Northern Gannet Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adults, breeding

    Northern Gannet

    Adults, breeding
    • © Mary Tremaine / CLO
  • Adult

    Northern Gannet

    Adult
    • © Mary Tremaine / CLO
  • Adults with nestling

    Northern Gannet

    Adults with nestling
    • © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Similar Species

  • Masked Booby has black tail and black extending along the back of the wings.
  • Adult Brown Booby has sharp border between dark brown chest and white belly, and will be mostly unspotted brown.
  • Red-footed Booby has pale face and black extending along the back of the wings.
  • Gannet has feathering in front of eyes, boobies do not.