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Boobies and Gannets

Species Of Gannets, Species Of Boobies, Boobies, Gannets, And People

Boobies and gannets are nine species of marine birds that make up the family Sulidae, in the order Pelecaniformes, which also includes the pelicans, cormorants, anhingas, tropic birds, and frigate birds.

Boobies and gannets have a narrow, cigar-shaped body, a longish, pointed tail, and long, narrow wings. Their feet are fully webbed, and are used in swimming. The beak is strong, pointed, has a serrated edge for gripping slippery prey, and is brightly colored in some species. Unlike some of the other groups in the order Pelecaniformes, boobies and gannets have fully waterproof plumage.

Gannets and boobies feed on fish, which they find by flying over the surface of the ocean at an altitude of up to 98 ft (30 m). These birds then catch their prey by spectacular, head-long, angled-winged plunges into the surface of the sea, seizing their quarry in their beak, and swallowing it underwater. During the breeding season, gannets and boobies are found in near-coastal waters. In their non-breeding season, however, these birds may occur far out to sea. Almost all species of gannets and boobies are colonial nesters.

Gannets (Morus spp.) are birds of temperate and subarctic oceans, and they breed in colonies on rocky cliffs and ledges. Both birds of a mated pair incubate their single egg, which they cover with their webbed feet before snuggling down to brood. After the chick develops its flight feathers and is ready to fledge, it is abandoned by its parents. It soon leaps into the sea from its cliff-top nest and begins to fish for itself.

The six species of boobies (Sula spp.) are all tropical and subtropical birds. Boobies breed in nests built on near-shore shrubs, or on coastal cliffs.

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