Texas Pelagics

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Northern Gannet

by | Jun 15, 2022

Northern Gannet  Morus bassanus

Texas Coastal / Offshore Status: Uncommon to common migrant and winter resident offshore and along the immediate coast. Often seen in small groups of two to four birds (sometimes in short lines); most overwintering Northern Gannets range from juvenile to 3rd-year birds, very few in adult plumage. 

Habitat: Often seen from land along the open gulf coast.

Similar Species: Northern Gannet is quite similar to Masked Booby, both being large, long-winged seabirds with varying amounts of dark and white plumage. Juvenile Northern Gannet show white uppertail coverts while Masked Booby has a white rump. Although difficult to see (except at close range), Northern Gannet has feathering that extends well in front of the eye. Fortunately both species occur in different seasons (gannets in winter and boobies in summer). In addition, Northern Gannet is usually found in close proximity to the immediate coast as well as offshore waters, while Masked Booby is usually seen far from shore in offshore and pelagic waters.

(2) Lower Texas Coast Status from Brad McKinney’s annotated checklist (updated 2009).

Seasonal Occurrence Graph

Texas Pelagics Sightings Distribution

This map shows the geographic distribution of Northern Gannet found in Offshore Texas (and Gulf of Mexico)
Click on the box in the upper left of the map to view the map legend.
Click on each sighting symbol and the data label will appear showing the time, date and the number of birds seen.
Click on the symbol on the top right of the map to view a larger map.

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