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Conservation status: Amber

Adults are large and bright white with black wingtips. They are distinctively shaped with a long neck and long pointed beak, long pointed tail, and long pointed wings. At sea they flap and then glide low over the water, often travelling in small groups. They feed by flying high and circling before plunging into the sea. It breeds in significant numbers at only a few localities and so is an Amber List species.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Morus bassanus

Family

Boobies and gannets (Sulidae)

Where to see them

Biggest mainland breeding colony at RSPB's Bempton Cliffs. Two mainland colonies - at Bempton and Troup Head, Scotland. Big island colonies on St Kilda, the Northern Isles and Bass Rock in Scotland and Grassholm in Wales. Can be seen offshore almost anywhere, especially when they migrate south between August and October.

When to see them

They arrive at their colonies from January onwards and leave between August and October. Non-breeding birds can be seen at any time around the coasts and the main migration period offshore is during the autumn.

What they eat

Fish

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-220,000 nests--

Distribution

Key

In the UK
Scottish and Welsh Islands, and Yorkshire (breeding); anywhere offshore

Audio

Similar birds

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