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2011 03 09 (089ce) Gannets @ Muriwai-a55v-09

2011 .. Young Gannets squabbling at the rocky end of Muriwai Beach .. It is the home of a large colony of Gannets .. near Auckland New Zealand .. The dark spotted ones are too young to fly .. Juveniles fly to Australia and after 3 years about 25% return for breeding .. as adults they stay in New Zealand for the rest of their lives .. Most birds were absent from the colony at the time this photo was taken ..

 

The gannet family or Sulidae is related to the shags and pelicans and contains mainly the tropical boobies.

 

There are three subspecies, bassana of the North Atlantic, capensis of southern Africa and serrator of New Zealand and Australia.

 

Morus serrator breeds in New Zealand, the Norfolk group of islands and Australia. In New Zealand they breed in 28 colonies, the largest being Gannet Island, west of Kawhai, and White Island in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

 

Immature gannets return to New Zealand when 2–5 years of age and breed from 4–7 years of age. With an estimated life span of 25–38 years, gannets are one of the longest living sea birds.

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Taken on March 9, 2011