Gannet Morus bassanus   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Sulidae
Number in Britain: 220 thousand Nests (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 94 cm Wingspan: 172 cm Weight: M/F: 3 kg    
Scientific name from: Gr.: moros=silly and after Bass Rock, Scotland
World Distribution: BREEDS: is of n Atlantic, RANGES n Atlantic, south to nw Africa and northwest to Baltic Sea
Habitat: Pelagic, breeds on open islands and coastal cliffs
Diet: Fish (up to 30cm), usually plunging from heights of 10-40m
TitBit: Gannets dive for fish from a height 25m and may reach 100km/h when they plunge into the water; an extensive network of air-sacs between the muscles and skin cushions this impact.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: JNCC Seabird Monitoring Programme
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 220 thousand Nests in
    First Record: Recorded in Anglo-Saxon times
    Latest Survey: Wanless, S. et al. (2005) Bird Study 53:79-85
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Localised Breeding Population, Important Breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 300 to 310 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: Bern(III)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Summary text from Seabird 2000 (warning: link to large pdf)

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 79 x 50 mm Egg Weight: 106.0 g (of which 11 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 1
Clutch Size: 1 eggs
Incubation: 42- 46 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 84 - 97days as: -
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.919 ± 0.002       
Juvenile Survival: 0.300 (to age 4 )  
Age at First Breeding: 5 years Typical Lifespan: 17 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 37 years 4 months 16 days (set in 1998)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: K
Wing Length Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data

Other Names

Northern Gannet
Previously Sula bassana
Gaelic: Sùlaire Welsh: Hugan
Danish: Sule Dutch: Jan van Gent
Finnish: Suula French: Fou de Bassan
German: Baßtölpel Hungarian: Szula
Icelandic: Súla Irish: Gainéad
Italian: Sula Norwegian: Havsule
Polish: Gluptak zwyczajny Portuguese: Ganso-patola-comum
Spanish: Alcatraz Swedish: Havssula
Local Names: Solan Goose

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Nelson, B. 1997 BWP Update 1:131-143
   Nelson, B. 2002 The Atlantic gannet Fenix Books, Great Yarmouth [598.453 NEL]
   Nelson, B. 1978 The gannet Poyser, Berkhamsted [598.453 NEL]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)