Northern gannet courtship display


Gannets are large black and white seabirds that practise spectacular fishing skills. Strong and streamlined, they plunge into the ocean from considerable heights and at break-neck speed, in pursuit of fish - it is an amazing show. They breed in tightly packed colonies on islands and coasts, where a single egg per couple is laid. There are three species of gannet: the northern gannet of the Atlantic ocean, the cape gannet of south Africa and the Australasian gannet of Australia and New Zealand.

Scientific name: Morus

Rank: Genus


Map showing the distribution of the Gannets taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

Explore this group


The following habitats are found across the Gannets distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

BBC News about Gannets

Elsewhere on the BBC