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Dolphin View Cottage, Ardersier

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Northern Gannet, - Morus Bassanus

Added on 02 July 2022

One of my favourite birds is the Northern Gannet, (Morus Bassanus) which is the largest European sea bird.  The adults are very distinctive with their yellow heads, white body and black wing tips.  The birds usually bond with monogamously for life.  The female will lay a single egg, which is incubated under the highly vascularized webs of the feet (gannets do not have a brood patch).  It will take between four and five years for the chick to gain the adult white plumage with black wing tips.  Their wingspan is massive, between 165 and 180cm.  Gannets have a lifespan of about 35 years but do have a high mortality rate as they can get caught up in fishing nets and drown.  They can often be seen fishing off Whiteness beach between Fort George and Nairn or in the deeper channel of the Moray Firth.  Northern Gannet in flight