a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
The birds of the temperate seashores of the northern Atlantic ocean...
'Northern Gannet'. Of the three Gannet species that live in temperate seas around the world (Australasian Gannet, Cape Gannet and Northern Gannet), these are the largest. They are distributed mostly in the north Atlantic.
The males and females look pretty much the same. One of the few differences is the colour running along the toes; more blueish in the males and yellow-greenish in females. At breeding colonies it is easy to see males and females touching bills, this movement is performed when mated pairs greet each other.
It is the male Northern Gannets that build the nests, and he uses grass, seaweed and dirt. The female will usually lay just one egg.
The freshly hatched chick is dark. After just one week it becomes fluffy white with feathers. Over the next month, the young develop dark feathers. They are fed by the parents for the next 3 months, right up until the time they take their first flight. They then take some five years to attain full adult plumage.
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? One of the first expeditions I am booked to work on is the NZ sub-Antarctics with Silversea Expeditions and Australia with Coral Expeditions. And here is a shortened version of one of my lectures in a warmer part of the world.