Family Gannets, Boobies (Sulidae)

Endangered

Cape Gannet (Morus capensis)


Taxonomy

French: Fou du Cap German: Kaptölpel Spanish: Alcatraz de El Cabo
Taxonomy:

Dysporus capensis

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

.

Closely related to and formerly considered conspecific with M. bassanus and M. serrator, differing from former in characters given under that species, and from latter in all-black tail (3), long gular line (2), and all-dark vs markedly paler inner vanes of primaries on both bassanus and serrator (2). Hybridization with M. serrator by wandering individuals recorded in Australasian region#R. Monotypic.

Distribution:

Breeds on coasts of South Africa (Bird I, in Lambert’s Bay; Malgas I, in Saldanha Bay; Bird I, in Algoa Bay) and Namibia (islands of Mercury, Ichaboe and Possession). Outside breeding season adults generally sedentary; young winter along African coasts, on W coast N to Gulf of Guinea (regular Nigeria) and on E coast N to Mozambique, exceptionally to Kenya and Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

85–90 cm; c. 2600 g. Adult has head and neck rich apricot-yellow to golden, fading to whitish over throat, lower neck and forehead, otherwise all white except black... read more

Voice

Commonest call "urrah-urrah", similar to that of M. bassanus but not so loud and harsh;... read more

Habitat

Strictly marine; wanders over continental shelf, generally within c. 120 km of coastline. Breeds on... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly shoaling pelagic fish; c. 90% of diet may consist of pilchard (Sardinops ocellata), anchovies (Engraulis capensis... read more

Breeding

Highly seasonal, breeding in Sept–Apr. Ground-nester, usually in large colonies; nest a mound of debris with central depression,... read more

Movements

Adults range little from colony after breeding, most staying in adjacent waters. Young migrate N to... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Very small breeding range, basically restricted to six islands, and considered to be at risk owing to over-exploitation of its food by commercial fisheries... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). Cape Gannet (Morus capensis). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/52618 on 10 December 2018).