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Boobies and Gannets: Sulidae

Boobies, Gannets, And People

Over the centuries, boobies and gannets and their eggs have been an important source of food for people when the birds were nesting. Some of the birds' droppings were collected and used for fertilizer on farms, often disturbing the birds on their nests. People still eat the birds on some tropical islands, and birdwatchers enjoy them worldwide.


Gannets depend on having smooth wing and tail feathers for their tricky flying, and they need well groomed feathers in order to stay warm in cold water. A gannet fixes its messed-up feathers by running them through its beak. But how can it smooth the feathers on top of its head? One solution is to scratch them with its feet. But during nesting time, gannets have a better solution. Pairs of gannets take turns smoothing the feathers on each other's heads. It is a great way to keep their feathers in shape, and it is also their way of saying, "We belong together."

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsBoobies and Gannets: Sulidae - Behavior And Reproduction, Boobies, Gannets, And People, Northern Gannet (morus Bassanus): Species Accounts - PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS