Australasian gannet is a large seabird of the booby family, Sulidae. Adults are mostly white, with black flight feathers at the wingtips and lining the trailing edge of the wing. Nesting takes place in colonies along the coastlines of New Zealand, Victoria and Tasmania.
About Australasian gannet in brief
The Australasian gannet is a large seabird of the booby family, Sulidae. Adults are mostly white, with black flight feathers at the wingtips and lining the trailing edge of the wing. The head is tinged buff-yellow, with a pale blue-grey bill edged in black, and blue-rimmed eyes. Nesting takes place in colonies along the coastlines of New Zealand, Victoria and Tasmania. The species faces few natural or man-made threats, and since its population is growing it is considered to be a least-concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. These birds are plunge divers and spectacular fishers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. The most ancient extant species may be the sole survivor of an otherwise extinct lineage. A study suggests that the ancestor of the gannets and boobies arose around 2.5 million years ago before splitting into northern and southern lineages. The latter then split into the Cape and Australasians around 0.5million years ago. It is also known by the Māori name tākapu or tāKupu, a word of wider Polynesian origin for a gANNet or booby. An adult gannett is 84–91 years old, while an adult booby is 84 91–84 years old. The birds are generally thought to be separate species forming a superspecies, though they have also been classified as subpecies of the northern gannet and the Pacific Gannet.
A single pale blue egg is laid yearly, though lost eggs may be replaced. The chick is born featherless but is soon covered in white down. It grows rapidly and outweighs the average adult when it fledges. It eats mainly squid and forage fish that school near the surface. Sir Joseph Banks shot the birds in New Zealand waters on 24 December 1769 off Three Kings Islands. The birds were cooked in a goose pie, which was enjoyed by the sailors, for Christmas the next day. The bird was initially given the binomial name Pelecanus chrysocephalus before crossing it out and changing it to Pele canus sectator. Daniel Solander wrote a formal description of the bird, noting its differences from the familiar northern gannET, initially giving it the name PeLEcanus sectator, before switching it to Sula serrator. Although Gould stuck with Sula australis, S. serrator became the preferred term over time. It has been designated as the official common name for the species by the International Ornithologists’ Union. In Australia, the species is known as Pacific gannete and, in Australia, as Australian gannette, diver, booby, or solan goose. In New Zealand it is alsoknown as the Australian Gannet and the Australian booby or the Australian goose.