Hovering gannet (c) Steve Everett

Northern gannet

Gannets are magnificent seabirds, whose British population occupies many of Scotland’s offshore islands during the breeding season. Between March and September Britain is in fact home to nearly 70% of the world's breeding gannet population, making their habitat internationally important. Gannets feed on shoaling fish such as mackerel and herring and execute high speed, plunging dives from great heights, breaking the surface of the water like bullets. Within breeding colonies, adults and chicks are tightly packed together. Those who wander mistakenly into neighbouring patches are fiercely attacked.

See a summer’s seabird ‘city’ spectacular.

Scientific name: Morus bassanus

Rank: Species

Common names:


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Map showing the distribution of the Northern gannet taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Northern gannet can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


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

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


BBC News about Northern gannet

  • Gannet colony's population spurt The number of gannets breeding on an island off the Pembrokeshire coast is continuing to increase, a new survey has revealed.

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