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Brandt's Cormorant - BirdForum Opus

Phalacrocorax penicillatus
Photo © by Fulmar
La Jolla, San Diego County, California, USA, 10 February 2004


Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Half Moon Bay, California, USA, 25 August 2020

27.6-31.1 in (70-79 cm)

  • Black body
  • White plumes on neck and back in breeding season
  • Pale tan throat framing to blue throat patch during breeding season
  • Long, hooked bill
  • Medium length tail

Juvenile: brownish-black with pale brown blaze across chest.

Similar Species

Photo © by katastrofa
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, 3 December 2019

Pelagic Cormorant is smaller with thinner bill, thinner neck, smaller head and longer tail. In breeding season Pelagic has dark crest and white flank patches.


Pacific coast of North America from southern Alaska to Baja California.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Open sea, rocky islands for breeding.


Breeding plumage
Photo © by mrcolin2u
La Jolla, California, USA, February 2008


The diet includes fish.


Nests are large and untidy, made of terrestrial plants or seaweed, placed on the ground or on rocky outcrops.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Information from the All About Birds website, https://www.allaboutbirds.org/, © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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