The northern gannet
The size of a goose, the northern gannet is the largest of our seabirds. Bright white with a black-tipped six foot wingspan, a creamy orange head and a long dagger-like bill, these plunge-diving birds are mesmerising. At their nest sites they can look almost clumsy, but it’s when they are hunting that gannets are at their most impressive. Gathering in large numbers over the waves, marvel as they hover over a shoal of fish, turning and folding their wings before plummeting head first into the water.
Head out to sea to experience the feeding frenzy of our largest seabird
Find gannets near you
The seas around our islands are the best place in the world to see northern gannets, with over half of the world’s population nesting here. Try one of the locations below, booking a boat tour to get close to the action if you can.
- Aberdeenshire, Longhaven Cliffs
- The Channel Islands, Alderney (book a summer boat trip to see the 8,000 pairs that make their summer homes in Les Etacs and Ortac)
- Pembrokeshire, Skomer
- Yorkshire, Flamborough Cliffs - home to one of the largest mainland colonies in the country. Join a Living Seas Safari to see them and much more!
How to prepare
To see gannets at their best, you need to head out to sea. Binoculars are a must, and don't forget your camera! Even on a sunny day it can be surprisingly cold out on a boat, so bring warm clothes including a windproof jacket: you’ll be thankful for it, we promise! For those whose sea legs aren’t the greatest, avoid eating heavy or fatty food before your boat trip, sit facing the direction the boat is moving and keep your eyes on the horizon. Except when you’re watching the birds, of course.
If you can't get to these places
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