Northern Gannet

The Northern Gannet, also known as the Solan Goose, is a large seabird found in the northern hemisphere. Its scientific name is Morus bassanus and it belongs to the family Sulidae. Here’s everything you need to know about this magnificent bird.

Basic Description

The Northern Gannet has a distinct appearance with white feathers on its body and black wingtips. It measures up to 39 inches in length, weighs around 7 pounds, and has a wingspan of up to 72 inches. The male and female look alike but juveniles have brownish plumage that turns into white as they mature.

Where To Find This Bird

This bird can be found along the coastlines of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. They nest in large colonies on cliffs or islands close to their feeding grounds.


Northern Gannets are primarily pelagic birds that spend most of their time at sea searching for food. They prefer areas with strong currents where fish are abundant such as continental shelves or oceanic islands.


Gannets feed mainly on small fish like herring and mackerel but can consume larger prey such as squid or other seabirds if necessary. These birds hunt by diving into the water from great heights reaching speeds of up to 60 mph!

Cool Facts

– The gannet’s plunge-dive technique is so efficient it reduces drag when entering water by tucking its wings back.
– During breeding season males perform an elaborate courtship dance involving head-tossing displays that involves them picking up seaweed then bowing repeatedly while presenting it to females.
– A gannet colony’s nesting area may contain over 60 thousand pairs of birds!
– Gannets can drink seawater because they have a special gland that filters out excess salt.

In summary, the Northern Gannet is an impressive seabird with unique characteristics both in appearance and behavior. Its hunting technique, courtship dance, and nesting habits make it a fascinating bird to observe in its natural habitat.