can gannet birds breathe underwater

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These bird have been called Queens of the Sea. When gannets spot fish in the air, they can dive down to the water from up to 30 meters above the surface. It can reach water at calculated speeds of up to 24 m/s. They literally go at breakneck speed toward the water, and at the last second, they fold their wings, giving the impression that they are turning into a missile or a swept-wing fighter aircraft. When the gannet first enters the water, its forward momentum carries it about 3 meters underwater; after that, it can arc back and emerge again or descend even farther with the help of its feet and wings. Before coming back to the surface, gannets can dive as far as 12 to 15 meters and catch prey with their sharp, dagger-like bill. The fish might be consumed when it comes to the surface again or swallowed underwater.

The Emperor penguin holds the record for the deepest dive among birds, having been recorded at over 530 meters! It can also submerge for longer than 15 minutes at a time! Naturally, once out of the water, this amazing ability is unmatched; the adaptation for a life at sea has cost it the ability to fly.

The Long-tailed Duck breeds in the far north of the Arctic and migrates to the coasts of North America for the winter. It is also found out at sea. One of the deepest diving ducks, it will dive up to 60 meters below the water’s surface, primarily for mollusks, crustaceans, and insects. It has also been found as by-catch of gill nets.

The Red-throated Loon breeds mostly on isolated ponds in coastal tundra habitat in North America. Compared to other loon species, this one is the smallest and requires less space to take off from the water. It can even take off on its own, though its on-land movements are not particularly graceful. It looks above the surface or hunts beneath the surface in search of prey. This species has been recorded to depths of about 40m. Regrettably, Red-throated loons are another species whose bycatch in gill nets has been documented.

The Guinness record for the deepest dive a flying bird has made is held by this species. A member of the Auk family, the Thick-billed Murre can dive up to 210 meters and make up to 20 consecutive dives to capture its preferred food, cod and herring. It can stay underwater for a maximum of four minutes at a time. However, because of its exceptional underwater hunting skills, it is susceptible to becoming entangled in fisherman’s gill nets.


How long can a gannet stay under water?

Once below the surface, the gannet can continue swimming after prey, using both its wings and webbed feet to dive as deep as 70 feet. It can stay submerged up to 30 seconds while hunting. Several adaptations allow the Northern Gannet to regularly make these high dives.

Can Northern Gannets go underwater?

Gannets catch fish by diving from significant height (often over 100 feet) at high speeds (up to 60 miles per hour). They dive as deeply as 72 feet and can maneuver and swim underwater using both wings and feet.

What is the longest a bird can stay underwater?

New research has revealed how the Emperor Penguin is able to dive to depths of over 500m and stay under water for up to 27 minutes – deeper and longer than any of its fellow avian species.