Fauna Flora Photography

Northern Gannet Morus bassanus

Northern Gannet Morus bassanus

Aves > Suliformes > Sulidae

Names in different Languages

EnglishNorthern Gannet
FrenchFou de Bassan
SpanishAlcatraz común, Alcatraz atlántico


Northern Gannet is a large bird, a wingspan up to 180cm, breeding in large colonies along the northern areas of the coast to the atlantic. This species is interesting to watch, due to its spectacular diving for fishes. When diving towards the water surface, the bird can reach a speed of up to 100km/h.

How to Identify

From far away, you may see them as just another gull, white with black tips on the wing. As soon as they dive for a fish you are able to identify them clearly. Closer, the typical form of the beak and head, optimized to break into the water surface on impact, its yellowish head and blue ring around the eye allow the identification.

Where When to Spot

Along the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland Bay of Lawrence. I was lucky to watch them fishing at Flatrock Cove, north of St. John’s, NL.



2021-08-18Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park
2017-08-14Flatrock Cave

Last updated on 2023-01-15. Written and regularly updated by Karl-Heinz Müller, Dipl. Natw. ETH, Biology. With 10 years of experience in wildlife photography, Karl-Heinz shares first-hand, on-site collected observations, photos and videos from his frequent visits to parks in the Montreal area.