Created 18-Mar-14
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The gannet is Ireland's largest seabird, with a wingspan of two metres. The little Skellig is home to nearly 70,000 of them, making it the second largest gannet colony in the world. The biggest Northern gannet colony is in the Scottish islands of St Kilda; this colony alone comprises 20% of the entire world's population. Gannets catch fish by plunging into the shoals from a great height. Gannets can dive from a height of 30 m, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds. Gannets are colonial breeders on islands and coasts, normally laying one chalky, blue egg. The most important nesting ground for Northern gannets is the United Kingdom with about two thirds of the world's population. These live mainly in Scotland, including the Shetland Isles. The rest of the world's population is divided between Canada, Ireland and Iceland,

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