Cape Gannet

© Cape Gannet


Cape Gannet

Latin Name

Morus capensis - formerly Sula capensis




84 - 94 cm


Cape Gannets breed on islands off the coast of Namibia and South Africa with the largest colony found on Malgas Island


Young birds seen from December to May migrate during the winter months up the east and west coasts.

Bird Call

The voice of a Cape Gannet is a loud raucous 'kara-kara-kara-kara'.

Number of chicks

The Cape Gannet only has 1 chick


The single Cape Gannet egg is incubated by the birds' feet. It is initially bluish-white but later becomes dirty and covered in guano.

Immature Description

Immatures all-dark initially, heavily spotted and speckled all over, body, head and neck, becoming white in that sequence.

Adult Description

Unmistakable, large black and white seabird with yellow head and hind neck, at close range with distinctive black lines on bill and face, plus a long black line down centre of throat. The Cape Gannet is a large white marine bird with long wings, completely webbed toes and pointed bill; nostrils not visible; tail feather not so stiff as in Cormorants and Pelicans.


The Cape Gannet is a common or locally abundant resident.


The Cape Gannet is a common off-shore species, resident throughout the year on the west and southern coasts. Found in coastal waters throughout the year as far as 160 kms offshore.

Kruger National Park - South African Safari