Image # 457
adult & young gathering nesting matterial
A Tasman Gannet (Moras serrator) gathers nesting material with her young chick at Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand. Tasman Gannets nest in large colonies on the coasts of New Zealand and Australia. First breeding at six years of age, gannets mate for life. They are affectionate throughout the breeding season and cement their pair bond with elaborate greeting displays. Dramatic plunge divers, gannets dive from heights of 50 to 100 feet above the ocean's surface, dropping their wings back just before spearing headfirst into the water. Once underwater, gannets chase fish by flapping their partly open wings. Strong fliers, gannets often travel great distances to find fish. Young gannets encourage their returning parents to share their fish meal by tapping their parent on the beak. After the breeding season is over, gannets head out into the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans. At sea, they sleep on the water and do not touch land again until the next breeding season. Some scientists believe that the Tasman, Northern and Cape Gannet are subspecies of a single, nearly worldwide, species.