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Birding Málaga


Common name Northern gannet
Scientific name Morus bassanus
Type Seabirds
Status Wintering

Large bird (approx 100 cm or 3.5 ft) with a wide wingspan (approx 180 cm or 6 ft). White plumage in adults. Black wing tips and yellow ocher head. Juveniles with brown plumage, somewhat lighter in the underparts, and mottled. One of the largest seabirds we can observe in the coast of Malaga.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Pelagic seabird, normally inhabiting offshore.

How it lives

Wintering species and visible in migratory passage in Malaga. It breeds in large and noisy colonies, on rocky islands and vertical cliffs in northern Europe. A single laying of one egg. It feeds on medium sized fish that it catches after spectacular dives. First it rises and gains height, and then folding its wings it falls down submerging itself in the water and diving behind them.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

It can be watched in winter in the whole Malaga coast. In days of strong eastern winds it can be seen closer to the shore.

Curious facts

Gannets reach speeds of up to 60 mph in their dives and they perform immersions of up to 15 meters deep. They have the ability to close their nostrils and auditory canals when they are under water. They have also some air bags under the skin that protect them from impact with water. They are real marine projectiles. Their name has several roots, one of which refers to the bird "that dives".

Wintering Summer Resident Migration