Saturday, 15 August 2009

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)

OTHER NAMES: Gannet, Solan Goose
Latin Etymology: Morus ("silly or foolish") bassanus (after Bass Rock in Scotland)
                                             TOP: Adult Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) at Trevose Head, Cornwall - June 2011
                                          BOTTOM: Adult Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) at St Bee's Head, Cumbria - April 2011

Weight: 2.2-3.6kg
Length: 81-110cm
Wingspan: 95-110cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern 

A huge distinctive looking bird - there is no other bird in Europe with the same shape and colours. Gannets can be seen along a lot of the coast, but really it is only when the wind conditions are right that they will be seen in close enough to shore to get any particularly close views.  They will occasionally feed more closely in in bays with their spectacular diving being one of the more impressive wildlife sights the UK has to offer, but largely on the mainland coast they are only seen passing by.  The UK is the world's best site for this species in general, with more than 70% of the worlds population living in only twenty sites.

Related Species: 
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Sulidae
Genus: Morus

Subspecies: none - monotypic

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Locally common breeding species (220,000 pairs) and regularly seen on passage.
 - Birds seen on passage from Trevose Head, St Bees Head and Farne Islands.

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