Cape Gannet

About Cape Gannet

The Cape Gannet is a large black and white seabird. It has a yellow head and nape, and a long black stripe down the center of the throat. Its bill is powerful and pointed with fine serrations near the tip. Large feet with web between each toe.

They breed on offshore islands in large groups. Their nest is a mound of debris, cemented together with the birds’ droppings. They have 1 egg which is blue with a white coating. Both parents take care of the egg for 43 to 44 days. The egg is placed under the feet of the parents where it is warmed by the webs, which are rich in blood vessels. The eggs have very thick shells so that the parents’ weight will not break them.

The Cape Gannets are very family friendly, feeding and breeding together in very large groups. The bright white feathers help to attract other gannets and lets them know where there is good feeding. The gannets fish by coming down in all directions from 65 feet in the air crossing one another’s path and never crashing into each other. They are able to surprise the fish and catch them in their dagger-like bills and may swallow their prey before leaving the water.