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Seabird Picture of the Month, February 2000:

Northern Gannet

Photo by Rob Barrett

Northern Gannet - photo by Rob Barrett

The northern gannet (Morus bassanus) is the largest seabird breeding in the North Atlantic. More than 80% of the world population (ca. 350 000 pairs) breeds in the eastern Atlantic (Britain, Iceland, Ireland, France, Norway, and Faroe Islands). After a period of persecution and population decline during the 19th century, numbers at most colonies have increased and are still doing so. New colonies are still being established, and the population has now spread to Russia where the first breeding attempt was documented on the Kola Peninsula in 1996. The first Norwegian colony was established in 1946, and 50 years later the population in Norway had risen to nearly 4000 pairs in five colonies. Since then, sea eagles (HaliaeŽtus albicilla) have preyed heavily on nesting adults in two of the colonies, causing sharp declines locally.

To learn more about other seabirds, browse the Seabird Flash Cards on the Seabird Page of this website.

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