Cape Gannet

DISTRIBUTION: The breeding range of Cape gannet is restricted to southern Africa in three islands off Namibia and three islands off South Africa. They normally nest in large and dense colonies on flat islands or on flat ledges of the steeply sloping Mercury Island off Namibia. The world population was estimated in 1996 to number about 340,000 birds, with 12% in Namibia and 88% in South Africa. The largest colony of this bird, with over 140,000 birds, is found on Malgas Island, South Africa. Several birds have occasionally been found breeding on offshore Australian islands, together with Australasian gannets, although the Cape species is never represented by more than a few pairs.[3]

NOTES:

Gannets use their foot webs to incubate the egg. The foot webs, which are richly irrigated with blood vessels are wrapped around the egg.

The hatchling is black, naked and blind, it weighs only about 70 g (2.5 oz), but within three weeks its body mass is one third of that of an adult. At eight weeks the chick outweighs the adult, and this remains so until it becomes a fledgling at 95–105 days of age.

They perform elaborate greeting rituals at the nest, stretching their bills and necks skywards and gently tapping bills together.