Fun Australasian Gannet Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Nov 16, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 26, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Australasian gannet facts help us learn more about this species of bird that have dark-colored tips on the inner tail feathers and major wing feathers.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

Among all the seabirds, there is a species that is still not known by many people, and that bird species is the gannet. These seabirds are a mixture of ducks and booby birds, except they are slender in shape with long bills and a large beak.

There are not many species of gannets, only three in the world. Those are the Australasian gannet (Morus serrator), northern gannet, and Cape gannet. These species of birds are known to be glutton and greedy birds as they have a large appetite and are always found eating. They eat a lot!

The Australasian gannet (Morus serrator), also known by the name Australian gannet, is the gannet that is not only found in Australia as the name suggests but also in the Cape Kidnappers and North Island of New Zealand. The International Ornithologists' Union has designated Australasian gannet as an official name for this species because they are known by different names in Australia and New Zealand.

In Australia, they were known as Pacific gannet whereas in New Zealand as takapu or Maori.

Here on our page, we have a lot of interesting facts about the Australasian gannet for everyone to enjoy. Let's have a look at these interesting facts and if you do like these, check out our fact files on palm cockatoo and umbrellabird.

Australasian Gannet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Australasian gannet?

The Australasian gannet (Morus serrator) is a seabird species that looks like a combination of ducks and boobies bird. They are found in the North Island and Cape Kidnappers of New Zealand, as well as Australia. There are three types of gannets which are the Australian gannet, the Cape gannet, and the northern gannet.

What class of animal does an Australasian gannet belong to?

The Australasian gannet belongs to the class of Aves.

How many Australasian gannets are there in the world?

The exact numbers of Australasian gannet are not estimated yet, but they are assumed to be safe in this world as their population is not decreasing, and they are have a conservation status of Least Concern.

Where does an Australasian gannet live?

Australasian gannets are found living in the continental shelf of Western Australia near the Queensland state, islands off Victoria, and in the South and North Island of New Zealand. These gannets are also found living near the islands of Norfolk, Lord Howe, and Cape Kidnappers, which are regions between New Zealand and Australia.

What is an Australasian habitat?

Australasian gannets are found to habitat in water areas and the continental shelf. Areas like the sea, bays, harbors, estuaries, and oceans are places where this gannet colony is mostly found.

Who does Australasian gannet live with?

Generally, the Australasian gannet lives a solitary life but always near each other. It is believed that whenever one gannet hunts its prey, the other creatures join to try and snatch the hunt. You can say that they live in a gannet colony because they are always found close to one another.

How long does an Australasian gannet live?

The average lifespan of Australasian gannets is approximately 20 years of age.

How do they reproduce?

When the breeding season arrives between July to February, male and female Australasian gannets form a monogamous pair and start the process of courtship. During courtship, Australasian gannet behavior includes bill bowing and allopreening, where they dive into the water and interlock the adult plumage feathers. After breeding, male and female Australasian gannets form breeding colonies which are usually dense colonies where they lay their egg. The female Australasian gannet incubates the egg while the male guard the dense colonies. They only lay one egg.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation category that Australasian gannets is listed is Least Concern. Although there are only three species of gannets found in the world, they are quite healthy and safe birds. They are usually found in dense colonies which is why they have fewer predators. They are not endangered.

Australasian Gannet Fun Facts

What do Australasian gannets look like?

Adult Australasian gannets are medium-sized birds, where both the male and female look quite similar in plumage. The body is usually all white with dark tips on the inner tail feathers and major wing feathers. The head has a distinct color which is buff-yellow on the white body, whereas the head and upperparts are white and brown in color. Both the male and female Australasian gannet have a pale blue-gray bill and eyering. The central tail feathers are also black in color. Both sexes when becoming an adult are similar in plumage and look exactly identical. This bird's head and upper parts are brown-yellow in color.

The head and upper parts of the Australasian gannet's body are in buff-yellow color.

How cute are they?

New Zealand and Australasian gannets are cute-looking sea birds. Their buff-yellow face color is the distinct feature of these birds which looks quite attractive.

How do they communicate?

When the breeding colonies are formed, these gannets start to show territorial behavior and become quite noisy. They start to produce sounds like 'urrah' and 'arrah' as a means of communication. Whenever they feel threatened, they produce loud high pitched calls to indicate to everyone about the danger.

How big is an Australasian gannet?

The Australasian gannet range of height is approximately 33-35.8 in (84-91 cm). These birds are much smaller than the common tiger shark that is around 13.1 ft (4 m).

How fast can an Australasian gannet fly?

The speed of the flight of Australasian gannet birds is not estimated yet. Research is still taking place about whether they fly faster than northern gannet birds that fly up to 40.4 mph (65 kph).

How much does an Australasian gannet weigh?

The average weight that Australasian gannet birds is around o 5 lb (2.3 kg) in total.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female species of New Zealand and Australian gannet birds.

What would you call a baby Australasian gannet?

The baby Australasian gannet does not have a particular name. They are just known as young birds or chicks. They do not have a specific name.

What do they eat?

The diet of the Australasian gannet is made up of different types of fishes like pilchards, barracouta, mackerel, New Zealand piper, and squid. Other than this, there are also records of them feeding on fishes while they dive into the water. Those fishes are flying fish, a puffer, saury, and yellow-eye mullet.

Are they greedy?

As the reputation of Australasian gannets says, these birds have a greedy nature because of their huge appetite. It is noticed in further research that these birds are greedy but do not steal their rival's food. These birds do not prey on each other's food, but they do chase each other.

Would they make a good pet?

New Zealand and Australian gannets cannot be good pets to a human. This is because they cannot survive in an enclosed space and prefer open space like the oceans and seas.

Did you know...

If an Australasian gannet vs. Cape gannet comparison is made, then the major difference between them is the tail color. The tail of the Cape gannet is black in color, whereas the Australasian gannet has a black color in the center and the outer tail feathers are white. This is just a minor difference between them, apart from this they look the same to one another.

How do gannets die?

The major threats to the New Zealand and Australasian gannet are the change of climate, migration effects, and overfishing. The most important problem that all gannet species is facing is the effect of global warming. Global warming is causing the the sea temperature to rise suddenly, and the gannet is forced away from their nests.

When is the the Australasian gannet breeding season?

The breeding season of Australasian gannet birds starts in July and it lasts until February. During this time, the courting process, forming of breeding colonies, and nesting take place. After that, a single egg is laid in a month or so, and the incubation follows. If the egg dies or is damaged for some reason, the replacement egg is laid within four weeks after the first one gets lost or dies. 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these yellow warbler facts and willow warbler facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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