The Gannet Colony at Muriwai: Niche and Habitat
First of all watch the video on niche and habitat of gannets at Muriwai
Read the information below about the niche Gannets fill at Muriwai.
Coastal waters breeding mostly on crowded colonies on small islands or isolated cliffs
- require warm temperatures
- Require a metre space between breeding pairs to prevent other adults attacking the egg
- presence of shoals of small fish such as anchvies pilchards and mullets within range of breeding sites.
- Some predation of chicks by gulls.
Special adaptations for survival.
- Inflatable airbags under the skin on their chests to cushion the impact of diving below the waves to catch fish.
- Nostrils are inside their mouth to avoid pressure problems in their lungs when fishing. (equivalent to holding your nose if you are doing a dive bomb from height.)
- Breed in large colonies on isolated cliff tops to minimise predation of chicks.
- Form lifelong pair bonds but separate during winter.
- Webbed feet with lots of blood vessels to help keep a single egg warm.
- Young migrate to Australia for a year. Helps reduce pressure on the colony.
Carnivores which consume small fish and squid by performing deep dives at high speeds. (hitting the water at speeds up to 150km/, the average speed of a V8 racing in Hamilton).