The beak of a gannet allows it to dive deeply at high speed because it lacks external nostrils.


"Many species of birds live largely or entirely on fish, and they tend to have long, strong, dagger-like beaks with which to spear their prey. The gannet is a coastal bird that flies over the sea searching for fish, then plummets into the water to spear them. Its beak is a similar shape to that of the kingfisher, which hunts in the same way over fresh water; but perhaps because of the depth and speed of the gannet's dive, its beak has no external nostrils into which the water might be forced." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:150, 155)

The grand design: Form and colour in animalsOctober 18, 1983
Sally Foy

Living System/s

Cape GannetMorus capensisSpecies