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Northern gannets (Morus bassanus).—William and Laura Riley
Any of three oceanic bird species (family Sulidae) closely related to the booby. Gannets are found in the North Atlantic, where they are the largest seabirds, and in temperate waters around Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Adults are mainly white with black-tipped wing feathers and a large, yellowish or buff-coloured head marked with black around the eyes. They have a tapered beak and pointed tail. They dive with half-closed wings to catch fish and squid. They waddle on land but are expert fliers, spending most of their lives over water. They nest in dense colonies on cliffs. The largest species is the 40-in. (100-cm) northern gannet.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on gannet, visit Britannica.com.