784. Sula bassana

784. Gannet.
Sula bassana (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 217 (1766) ; (Naum.), xi. p. 14, Taf. 278 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 474, pl. cxxx. fig. 3 ; Gould, B. of E. v. pl. 412 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 54 ; Dresser, vi. p. 181, pl. 392 ; Grant, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvi. p. 425 ; Bidgway, p. 76 ; Saunders, p. 365 ; Lilford, vii. p. 9, pl. 3.
Fou de Bassan, French ; Ganso-patola, Portug. ; Alcatraz, Span. ; Basstolpel, German ; Jan van Gent, Dutch ; Kuksuk, Greenl. ; Hav-sule, Icel., Dan., and Norweg. ; Hafsula, Swed.
Male ad. (Bass Rock). Entire plumage pure white, the head and neck tinged with warm isabelline ; quills and tail black, the latter cuneate ; bill pale livid blue ; space round the eye blackish ; iris yellow ; legs greenish ; webs brown. Culmen 4.8, wing 18.8, tail 8.3, tarsus 2.7 inch. The immature bird has the upper parts dark sooty brown closely spotted with white, the under parts whitish closely marked with sooty brown ; wings and tail blackish brown ; bill dark horn-brown. The nestling is at first naked and blackish, then covered with dark down.
Hab. Atlantic coasts of Greenland, Iceland, Great Britain, and Scandinavia, in winter south to North-west Africa ; on the American coasts from the high north to the Gulf of Mexico.
Is wholly marine, not to say oceanic, in habits, only visiting certain islands for the purpose of breeding. In British waters there are Lundy in the British Channel, Grasholm on the south-west coast of Wales, the Bell Bock and Skelligs on south-west coast of Ireland, Ailsa in the Firth of Clyde, St. Kilda, North Barra on Sulisgeir, and the Stack on the north coast of Scotland, and the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. There is no station on the coasts of Norway, Orkney, or Shetland, and in the Faeroes only on Myggenoes, on the Iceland coast the Westman Islands, Eldey and Grimsey. Formerly abundant in Newfoundland waters it has now but three stations there, of which the Great Bird Rock is chief. Notwithstanding its great power of flight, it is occasionally driven inland by storms. It feeds wholly on fish, which it takes by plunging with closed wings from a height, and never by diving from the surface as do the Cormorants. At its breeding stations the nests are usually placed so thickly as to cover all the available space. They are built of sea-weed, and but a single egg is laid, which is elliptical in shape, the sur¬face dull and rough, and white in colour, usually marked with yellowish brown dirt, and measures about 3.12 by 2.2. The cry of the old bird is a hoarse hurra, hurra, or grog, grog, rapidly repeated, and that of the young bird a shrill squeak.
Sula piscator (Linn.) has, according to Dr. Finsch, been once obtained in Decastries Bay in Eastern Siberia.

A Manual Of Palaearctic Birds
Dresser, Henry Eeles. A Manual of Palaearctic Birds. Vol. 2. 1903.
Title in Book: 
784. Sula bassana
Book Author: 
H. E. Dresser
Page No: 
Common name: 
Vol. 2

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