Young birds are black in their first year, and gradually acquire more white in subsequent seasons until they reach maturity after five years.
Adults have a white body with black wing tips. During breeding, the head and neck are brushed in a delicate yellow.
Their breeding habitat is the North Atlantic. They normally nest in large colonies on cliffs overlooking the ocean or small rocky islands. Gannet pairs may remain together over several seasons.
They are migratory and most winter at sea, heading further south in the Atlantic.
These birds are spectacular divers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish which gather in groups near the surface. Although they are powerful and agile fliers, they are particularly clumsy in takeoffs and landings.
Although Northern Gannet populations are now stable, their numbers were once greatly reduced due to loss of habitat, removal of eggs and killing of adults.