Best time to travel to New Zealand

Gannet Colony in New Zealand 2024-2025

Gannet couples demonstrate a strong sense of paternal responsibility fighting for the right to hatch their single egg​

Best time: mid-October–April

Gannet Colony
Gannet Colony
Gannet Colony

Gannets are crazy about breeding their chicks. Starting from October two vertical-sided islands towering from the sea within Muriwai Regional Park turn into gannet colony. Virtually 1,200 bird couples entirely occupy the planes. Each pair of these huge white-feathered seabirds has a single egg to protect and there is no concord between the parents concerning the distribution of their paternal responsibilities. The area bursts into comical fighting cries when gannet pairs sit side by side trying to take control over the egg.

Entertaining disputes of the avian families might​ be observed during the gannets' breeding season, namely between October and April. Another place to watch this bird show is at Cape Kidnappers.

Practical info

When is the ideal time to witness the amusing phenomena of the aggressive Gannet Colony fights in New Zealand?

The optimal period to visit the Gannet Colony in New Zealand is from mid-October to April, which is the breeding season when Gannet couples vigorously defend their single egg and engage in entertaining fights over their paternal responsibilities. A visit during this season thus provides an excellent opportunity to admire the unique nature of these enormous seabirds in action. Show more

What is the geographical location of the Gannet Colony in New Zealand?

Nestled in the Muriwai Regional Park of New Zealand, the Gannet Colony is located on two magnificent vertical islands characterised by towering cliffs above the sea, which completely fill up with enthusiastic Gannet couples during their breeding season. Alternatively, you can also visit another breeding site for Gannets in New Zealand, called Cape Kidnappers, where you can observe the Gannets in their largest and most accessible colony. Show more

What is the estimated number of gannets found during their breeding season at the Gannet Colony in Muriwai Regional Park?

Approximately 1,200 gannet couples fill the Gannet Colony in Muriwai Regional Park during their breeding season, which is an ideal time to witness the amusing disputes that occur among the couples. One of the common squabbles that happen is around who has the right to attend to their precious single egg. This provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the unique character of these white-feathered seabirds during their breeding season. Show more

What behavior do Gannet couples demonstrate during breeding season at the Gannet Colony in Muriwai Regional Park?

The Gannet couples at the Muriwai Regional Park Gannet Colony engage in entertaining fights, characterized by comical fighting cries, over the distribution of parenting responsibilities. With each couple, the female Gannets typically lay a single egg, and the male Gannets take turns in tending to it. A visit to the Gannet Colony, especially during breeding season, thus provides a fantastic opportunity to observe the unique nature of these seabirds in their habitat. Show more

Apart from Muriwai Regional Park, which other place in New Zealand provides an opportunity to watch the Gannet breeding season?

Cape Kidnappers is another prime location in New Zealand where you can watch the Gannet breeding season, characterized by an estimated population of over 50,000 Gannets, including their largest and most accessible mainland colony. Visitors to Cape Kidnappers can enjoy guided tours, which are suitable for bird-watchers, and a tractor ride to the colony. This provides the perfect opportunity to observe the fascinating behavior of these seabirds in their natural environment. Show more

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