juvenile; brownish but flecked with white (Florida, USA; 2008-01-02)

Northern Gannet
Morus bassanus

Native Range: Atlantic Ocean

Notes: usually seem in loose groups over oceans near shore; breeds in large colonies on rocky islands; closely related and similar in appearance to other gannet species in Africa (Cape Gannet) and Australasia (Australasian Gannet); catches fish by folding its wings and plunge-diving head-long into the ocean from heights of 50 feet or more; once underwater, it can reach depths of at least 60 feet as it chases its quarry; in normal flight, this bird looks quadri-pointed because its bill is about the same length as its pointy tail, and its pointed wings likewise protrude about the same distance from the body; no sexual dimorphism but conspicuous differenes between adult and juvenile plumages.

juvenile in flight (Florida, USA; 2008-01-02)

adult; yellow head; black wingtips; white body (Florida, USA; 2008-01-02)

juvenile showing quadri-pointed look in flight (Florida, USA; 2008-01-02)

adult in flight (Northern Ireland; 2008-09-14)

adult in flight (Northern Ireland; 2008-09-14)