Northern Gannet Life History


Habitat OceansNests on offshore islands and inaccessible cliffs. Forages offshore. Winters at sea.Back to top


Food FishFish and squid.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Cliff

Nest Description

Large, compacted pile of mud, seaweed, grass, flotsam, and feathers cemented together with excreta. Nests in colonies.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:1 egg
Egg Description:Pale blue or greenish.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless with little down.
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Behavior Aerial Dive (water)Plunge-dives from various heights up to 10-40 meters (33-130 feet). Thrusts wings straight out over back, touching in the middle, just before breaking the water surface.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernNorthern Gannet populations appear stable in North America. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental population of over 155,000 birds, and rates the species a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. They are not listed on the 2014 State of the Birds Report.Back to top


Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA. 

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Mowbray, Thomas B. 2002. Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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