Northern Gannet Morus bassanus


A large black-and-white seabird in adult plumage, the Northern Gannet breeds mainly in northwest Europe, with smaller populations in northeast North America. In the non-breeding season, the species ranges farther south along the western seaboard of the Atlantic reaching south into the Gulf of Mexico, with occasional sightings off the north coast of Cuba. Like all gannets, the process of plumage maturation takes several years, with the feathering initially starting out virtually all dark. In the northern Neotropics, where the Northern Gannet must be considered a vagrant, care must be taken to distinguish this species from the superficially similar Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra). In adult plumage, note the all-white tail, different bill pattern, and the yellow cast to the crown of the Northern Gannet. The species breeds in large colonies.

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© Martha Fischer

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: