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Photographed at Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

 

The Australasian gannet (takapu) are usually found in large colonies on offshore island around New Zealand and southern Australia and have been nesting at Cape Kidnappers since the 1870s.

 

Numbers have steadily increased to 6,500 pairs, which makes it the largest and most accessible mainland colony in the world.

 

The gannets average lifespan of between 25 to 40 years has a remarkable start. The 16 week old chicks, which have never been airborne before, take on a 2,800 kilometre Tasman Sea crossing. Two to three years later, the young birds return from Australia to undertake tentative mating. However, it is not until they are five years old that they nest in earnest, after which most spend their life around the coastal New Zealand seas.

 

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Taken on November 7, 2008