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Australasian Gannet

Australasian Gannet
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-04
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-08 10:39
Viewed: 5075
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Gannets are seabirds in the family Sulidae, closely related to the boobies.

The gannets are large black and white birds, with long pointed wings and long bills. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, with a wingspan of up to 2 meters. The other two species occur in the temperate seas around southern Africa and southern Australia and New Zealand.

Gannets hunt fish by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Gannets have a number of adaptations which enable them to do this:

they have no external nostrils;

they have air sacs in their face and chest under their skin which act like bubble-wrap, cushioning the impact with the water;

their eyes are positioned far enough forward on their face to give them binocular vision, allowing them to judge distances accurately.

Gannets can dive from a height of 30 m, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds.

The gannet's supposed capacity for eating large quantities of fish has led to "gannet" becoming a disapproving description of somebody who eats excessively, similar to "glutton".

The Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator or Sula bassana, also Australian Gannet, Tākapu) is a large seabird of the gannet family Sulidae.

Young birds are black in their first year, and gradually acquire more white in subsequent seasons until they reach maturity after five years.

Adults have a white body with dark wing tips, and the head is yellow with a pale blue-grey bill.

Their breeding habitat is on islands off Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand. They normally nest in large colonies on coastal islands.

Gannet pairs may remain together over several seasons. They perform elaborate greeting rituals at the nest, stretching their bills and necks skywards and gently tapping bills together. The adults mainly stay close to colonies, whilst the younger birds disperse.

These birds are plunge divers and spectacular fishers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat squid and small fish which school near the surface.

Numbers of Australasian Gannet have been increasing since 1950, although some colonies have disappeared and others have decreased in size.

nglen, Dan, timonejoon, jaycee, CeltickRanger, NinaM, rousettus, boreocypriensis, Maite, Luis52, vanderschelden, marhowie, elizabeth, Meshersmith, earthtraveler, horia, cataclysta, Miss_Piggy, albert, uleko, pauljk, Janice has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To joey: Preening positionJamesp 2 02-09 04:10
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello James, very sharp shot nice colour tones in the head. I like its lovely blue eye, really beautiful detail throughout. Nice diagonal comopsition. tfs Rgds Necip

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-02-08 10:44]

Hi James. What a good close up of the fantastic looking bird. very fine detail and colours in the head feathers and eye. vey good indeed. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • Dan Gold Star Critiquer [C: 113 W: 0 N: 2] (18)
  • [2008-02-08 11:01]

Hi James,
always the black & white bird are difficult to
be well presented in a photo. But your imagine is very well done, can be seen all nuances and details on black and white.
TFS, Dan

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-02-08 11:07]

Hello James,
Another beauty, this time from New Zealand. Great close up in fantastic colours and sharpness. Excellent diagonal composition with the accent on the eye. Good POV.

Hi James

I like the pose and composition of bird more than anything els, it is a nice shot with good exposure.
well done


hello James

a beautiful photo with smooth colours, specially at his head i like it,
excellent sharpness and details of his plumage, excellent luminosity
of the image, and excellent POV to show us the action this Gannet
is doing with his beak, TFS


  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-02-08 12:01]

When I saw the thumbnail, I knew it was a great picture... I had not seen your name yet and here it is, a super shot! I like the pov from the top and looking at this beauty preening. I love looking at all the details, the nice deck with white stains, the beautiful plumage of the bird. Great notes, thank you!


Hi James,
A perfect macro capture of the gannet. Great details, sharpness, POV. You captured it with a nice action scene. Notes, white balanced and BG excellent always. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2008-02-08 12:31]

I see you have good lens for such photo. Realy wonderful shot. Great sharp and detail, nice color.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2008-02-08 13:15]

How great, James! What a marvellous beautiful shot! Magnificent sharpness, POV, DOF, framing and composition. I like the bird's pose :)
Thank you very much for this beauty and the excellent note.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-02-08 13:49]

Hola James.
Muy elegante la foto de hoy, Bello momento logrado con alta nitidez e ingenio en la presentacion.
Los suaves tonos de colores son muy bellos tambien

Hello James,
I always found these very beautiful birds but since I photographed them in Artis, the zoo of Amsterdam I know they have a smell. And now, when viewing your image the smell is coming back:-)
That doesn't say anything about your work though.
Interesting point of view and good cleaning moment.

These are among my favorite birds for sure. I just love the sleek lines and the colors. It is a nice capture with lots of sharp detail.
Perfect focus and exposure.

Evelynn : )

Hola James, impactante fotografía, impecable el manejo de los blancos, el ave una belleza, solo queda decir, felicitaciones.

Hi James,
Fine quirky pose of this preening Gannet. Super details in the white plumage. Good note. TFS

Hello James,
Good close up of the gannet from Muriwai!
perfect sharpness, good colour and details also the most useful and informative notes!

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-02-08 22:46]

Hi James,
I will be back.

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  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-02-09 1:53]

Hi James

A very nice shot of this absolutely gorgeous species!
I've been a big fan of the Australian Gannet ever since i joined TN and saw some very nice shots from other photographers from there. They really are beautiful and well adapted from their way of life.
Your note again is terrific - i had no idea about the location of those air sacs...very interesting, but also very smart ;)
The shot is nice and it presents this one with good details and in a very natural and undisturbed mood :)
Lovely work once again my friend!

Bravo and TFS

Hi James
Great shot. Beautiful gannet. Interesting POV and nice moment, Sharpness is great, background is OOF a looks very nice.
Best wishes

Hallo James
A well framed, well focused, well presented and well detailed photo of this Gannet.
The feathers on its head look so soft and I am sure if I had the opportunity, I would have loved to run my hand across its head. I really look very soft and tender. The blue colour of the eye is remarkable and stands out well. I also like the yellowish-green colour of the stripes in the paws. A lovely bird, photographed in a lovely pose. I am sure the bird was busy grooming itself for you and your camera. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your weekend.
Kind regards
Ps. Very interesting note.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-02-09 3:51]
  • [+]

Very sharp image of this Gannet James!
I like the awkward position it's in just to preen his tail feathers :-)
Nice colours and perfect lighting.
Great composition.
Well done!

Hi James
Beautiful bird and just a superb photo
Well done
TFS, Albert

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-02-09 4:57]

Hello James,
What a splendid close-up of this Gannet preening itself! I like its pose and the beautiful details and colours of its plumage.
Great focus on the blue eye too. Very nicely composed!
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

Perfect detail, great lighting, nice color. Well done Interesting moment you captured - I would think it's Bird Yoga. ha ha

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-02-09 7:43]

Hi James,

A beautiful shot of this Gannet. I love the pose showing off the face, opened beak, and the wonderful feathers. Superb colors and details.

Hi James,

Nicely timed image showing interesting behavior. You've nailed exposure well, looks like you had nice overcast weather to shoot in. I spend a lot of time out a Muriwai and have an exhibition coming up in April themed on the gannets out at the colony.



Hello James

Sorry friend, I think that I forget to marked this wonderful capture friend! Perfect one!
Best regards,


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  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-09-09 3:05]

This is a good catch of the Gannet at Muriwai. Very crisp and sharp and the colours are very pronounced - I love his blue eye.
I must go back there next summer.
Well done James

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