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Great Gannets! Three Healthy Chicks Hatch at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-3

Three healthy Northern Gannet chicks hatched at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven on the Northern coast of Germany, on May 21 and on June 5 and 18. In the early 1980s, Zoo am Meer was the first zoo to successfully breed Northern Gannets in captivity. Up until today, Bremerhaven has remained one of very few European zoos to have successful hatchings of Northern Gannet chicks almost every year.

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-1

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-2

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-4
Photo credits: Joachim Schoene / Zoo Am Meer Bremerhaven

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the bird is listed as a species of Least Concern. Found along both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Northern Gannets are a common bird with an uncommon ability: with an adult wingspan measuring nearly six feet (175 cm), these marine birds catch shoaling fish by nose-diving from heights of up to 130 feet (40 m). In the wild they are colonial, making nests of grasses and seaweed on coastal ledges and hilltops. Colonies breed in northern France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, and the eastern tip of Quebec. Pairs produce a single egg in the month of May, which is brooded with the feet for about 45 days. After five years, young Northern Gannets develop the elegant white and black plumage of mature adults.