Thursday, October 17, 2013

Australasian Gannet

Morus serrator
Meet the Autralasian Gannet, a large white, black, and yellow seabird that lives around Australia, New Zealand, and a handful of other nearby islands. They breed in massive coastal colonies, with the largest groups forming in New Zealand. Groups of more than 10,000 pairs can be found at three different locations!

Australasian Gannets form pair bonds that can last for several breeding seasons, and sometimes they last for life. These birds perform elaborate displays to attract mates, including dancing, head bobby, and presenting seaweed to one another. Once a mate is found, the birds with continue to perform, often through bill tapping, in order to greet their mate and strengthen pair bonds.

Females guard the nesting site while the males go out for building materials. Seaweed is a major component. Only one egg will be laid at a time, and both parents help to incubate it for 6 weeks until the helpless chick is hatched. Gannets are pretty long-lived for a seabird. They can reach just shy of 40 years, and won't breed for the first time until they are 5-7.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Australia, New Zealand
Size : Length up to 6in (15cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Suliformes
Family : Sulidae -- Genus : Morus -- Species : M. serrator
Image : Merops

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