Australasian gannets belong to the Pelecaniformes order. Their streamlined bills and heads allow them to penetrate the water when they dive for prey – they plunge from heights of up to 30 metres, entering the water at 145 kilometres per hour. Unlike albatrosses and other petrels they have no external nostrils, as these could be a hindrance when plunging at high speed. Their numbers have been increasing in New Zealand, with colonies at new sites becoming established.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Peter Blok
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