Researchers attached the tiny cameras to the gannets, to learn more about their habits and how they survive flying up to 300 miles out at sea. They found that the seabirds circle at 30 meters high before diving into the water at speeds of up 60mph.
Gannets are seabirds comprising the genus Morus, in the family Sulidae, closely related to boobies. The gannets are large black and white birds with yellow heads; long, pointed wings; and long bills. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, with a wingspan of up to 2 metres. The other two species occur in the temperate seas around southern Africa, southern Australia and New Zealand.
Gannets hunt fish by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Gannets have a number of adaptations which enable them to do this:
- they have no external nostrils, they are located inside the mouth instead;
- they have air sacs in their face and chest under their skin which act like bubble wrapping, cushioning the impact with the water;
- their eyes are positioned far enough forward on their face to give them binocular vision, allowing them to judge distances accurately.