The Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator/Tākapu) is always a favourite with our safari passengers.
These black and white birds have bright yellow heads and long bills. They are spectacular to watch while they hunt, and terrifying if you’re a fish!
The Australasian Gannet hunts by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. This makes for entertaining viewing from the Dolphin Explorer, particularly when there are hundreds of them.
Gannets can dive from as high as 30 metres and achieve speeds of 140 km/h as they strike the water, where their dives can take them down as far as 20m.
Gannets are highly adapted for this type of feeding. They have air sacs around their chests and necks which inflate upon entry to cushion the blow. They can even change the shape of the lenses in their eyes, to pursue their prey underwater with deadly accuracy!
Because gannets feed on the same type of fish as common dolphins, we know that wherever they are, we’ll find dolphins too.