Family Gannets, Boobies (Sulidae)

Least Concern

Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator)


French: Fou austral German: Australtölpel Spanish: Alcatraz australiano

Pelecanus serrator

G. R. Gray

, 1843,

No locality = area of Three Kings Islands, off north-west New Zealand


Formerly considered conspecific with M. bassanus and M. capensis (but see both). Hybridization with wandering individuals of M. capensis recorded in Australasian region#R. Proposed race rex (listed for “New Zealand”) inseparable from birds in rest of range. Type locality often given as Tasmania, but specific name serrator was first associated with drawing of adult from sea NW of New Zealand#R. Monotypic.


Breeds on coasts of SE Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand; also small colony at Norfolk I. Winters on adjacent waters and up W & E coasts of Australia as far as Tropic of Capricorn.

Descriptive notes

84–91 cm; c. 2350 g; wingspan 160–170 cm. Adult has head and neck with rich apricot to golden tinge fading to whitish towards throat (but see bare parts), lower... read more


Commonest call is a rather distinctive "urrah-urrah", male clearly higher-pitched than female. It... read more


Strictly marine; wanders over continental shelf or inshore waters, seldom far from land. Breeds on... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly pelagic fish, especially pilchard (Sardinops neopilchardus), anchovies (Engraulis australis) and jack mackerel (... read more


Highly seasonal, Oct–May. Ground-nester, commonly in rather small but dense colonies. Nest a rough mound of seaweed and grass,... read more


Most adults stay within vicinity of colony after breeding. Young disperse: those from New Zealand... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Numbers were greatly reduced by human persecution during first half of 20th century after which the population increased... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F., Bonan, A. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2020).