Bird Families

Abbott, William Louis


Goggle Abbott , or black-winged gannet (lat. Papasula abbotti) is a rare seabird from the gannet family. Its only nesting area is the Australian Christmas Island, which is located in the Indian Ocean and has an area of ​​135 km². Abbott's boobies are kept in the region around this island all year round. The only representative of the genus Papasula.


The body length of this bird is 79 cm, the average weight is 1460 g. The plumage is black and white. The eyes are black. The beak is light gray in the male, pink in the females with a black apex. The head, occiput and most of the underside are white in color. Black wing coverts with white spots.


Gannet Abbott nests in the tropical humid jungle of Christmas Island on the highlands and western slopes. It is absent on the northern slopes, since during the monsoon they are especially exposed to squally winds. Birds prefer those whose tops stand out above other trees as nesting trees. They often use trees of the genera Planchonella, Syzygium, Celtis and Tristiropsis.

Until now, the breeding biology of the species has been very poorly studied, since the nests are difficult to reach. Egg-laying begins between April and October, with peak in June and July. There is only one egg in a clutch. Young birds grow up very slowly, and up to 230 days, they are fed by parent birds. Therefore, pairs that have successfully raised young birds, as a rule, nest only once every 2 years. In general, it takes a pair of birds 9.5 years to raise at least 2 young birds. The low reproduction rate is due to the fact that every fourth chick dies during the first 4 weeks, either from starvation or becoming the prey of the Australian brown hawk (Accipiter fasciatus). In addition, many young birds die of hunger, birds that are not experienced in flight are injured while landing on the crown of a tree, others fall prey to severe storms.


When the gannet Abbott was discovered in 1892 by the American ornithologist William Louis Abbott in the Seychelles in the western Indian Ocean, it had a larger distribution area than it does today. It became extinct on Assamps Island due to uprooting and guano mining in the 1920s or 1930s. Bones found on Rodrigues Island and the Marshall Islands indicate that it was also common in previous centuries on these islands. The extinct subspecies from the Marshall Islands - Papasula abbotti costelloi - was named in 1988 by David William Steadman, Susan Schuebel and Dominic Palawan. Hinting at the American comedian Lou Costello, the epithet costelloi was given as a play on words.

From 1965 to 1987, there was a major threat from guano mining on Australian Christmas Island. Nesting trees were uprooted, leaving behind bare places in many places. In 1988, a cyclone wiped out one third of the breeding population. Since the 1990s, the next threat emerged from an imported yellow crazy ant that killed most of the young birds.

After prolonged containment of the ant misfortune, conservationists managed to increase the population from 1,900 pairs in 1992 to 3,000 pairs in 2002.


Gannets (lat. Sulidae) - a family of seabirds from the order of the boobies. They are excellent flyers and spend most of their lives over the open sea.


The species of the gannet family belong to 3 genera Morus, Sula and Papasula... Together with the northern and Cape gannets, the Australian gannet belongs to the genus Morus... The following cladogram reflects the results of the molecular analysis carried out by scientists Friesen and Andersonwhich confirm this division:

Sulidae (Goggles) | | - + - Morus | | | | | | - Northern gannet | | `- + - Cape gannet | | `- Australian gannet | | | `- Papasula (Goggle Abbott) | `- Sula | | - Red-footed boobies `- + - Brown-footed boobies` - + - Blue-faced boobies `- + - Peruvian boobies` - Blue-footed boobies

List of species

The International Union of Ornithologists distinguishes 10 species in the family:

  • Genus Morus
    • Morus bassanus Linnaeus, 1758 - Northern gannet
    • Morus capensis (Lichtenstein, 1823) - Cape gannet
    • Morus serrator (Gray, 1843) - Australian gannet
  • Rod Sula - Boobies
    • Sula nebouxii (Milne-Edwards, 1882) - Blue-footed booby
    • Sula variegata (Tschudi, 1843) - Peruvian booby
    • Sula dactylatra (Lesson, 1831) - Blue-faced booby
    • Sula granti (Rothschild, 1902)
    • Sula sula (Linnaeus, 1766) - Red-footed booby
    • Sula leucogaster (Boddaert, 1783) - Brown gannet
  • Genus Papasula
    • Papasula abbotti (Ridgway, 1893) - Gannets Abbot

Abbott William Louis.

February 23, 1860 (1860-02-23)

April 2, 1926 (1926-04-02) (age 66)

William Louis Abbott (eng. William Louis Abbott February 23, 1860 - April 2, 1926) - American physician, traveler, philanthropist, naturalist and ornithologist. It is known for its stunning collections of biological specimens and ethnological artifacts from around the world, especially from the Malay Archipelago. He bequeathed most of his collections and 20% of his fortune to the Smithsonian Institution.

  • Expeditions
  • Notes (edit)

Abbott made expeditions and collected collections:

  • 1880 - Iowa and North Dakota bird collection
  • 1883 - collection of birds of Cuba and Santo Domingo
  • 1887-89 - Taveta, near Kilimanjaro, Kenya, East Africa
  • 1890 - Zanzibar, Seychelles and Madagascar
  • 1891 - India: Baltistan, Karachi, Kashmir and Srinagar
  • 1892 - Kashmir, Baltistan, Aden, Seychelles and Aldabra
  • 1893 - Seychelles, Kashmir, Srinagar, Ladakh, Xinjiang and East Turkestan
  • 1894 - eastern Turkestan, India and Ceylon, Madagascar
  • 1895 - Madagascar and Kashmir
  • 1896 - Malay Peninsula including Perak, Penang and Trang with a visit to Canton
  • 1897 - Trang, Penang and India
  • 1898 - Singapore and China with a visit to Tibet
  • 1899 - Abbott built a schooner "Terrapin”And, choosing Singapore as his starting point for the next ten years, traveled extensively across the islands of Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago, often accompanied by Cecil Boden Kloss (1877-1949). They visited the Mergui Archipelago, Natuna Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Burma, Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo, Nias, Mentawai Islands, Engano Island, Riau Archipelago and many islands in the South China and Java Seas.
  • 1909 - the beginning of partial blindness caused by spirochetes, forcing him to sell the schooner "Terrapin”And largely suspend harvesting in the tropics. After treatment in Germany, from 1910 to 1915, he visited Kashmir, stopped briefly with his sister in 1914 to collect collections in the Moluccas and Celebes.
  • 1916 - Dominican Republic
  • 1917-18 - Haiti, where he suffered a near-fatal bout of dysentery
  • 1919-23 - Hispaniola

Numerous animal species are named after Abbott, such as Abbott's gonocephalus (Gonocephalus abbotti), Seychelles day gecko (Phelsuma abbotti), gannet Abbott (Papasula abbotti), Abbott's short-tailed starling (Cinnyricinclus femoralis), celebesky shrike larvae (Coracina abbotti), as well as a tree fern from Haiti Cyathea abbottii.


Goggle Abbott (lat. Papasula abbotti ) Is a rare seabird from the gannet family. Its only nesting area is the Australian Christmas Island. The only representative of the genus Papasula.