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Great Cormorant

From Opus

Alternative Name: White-breasted Cormorant [1], Black Cormorant

Complete breeding plumage and color, subspecies P. c. sinensisPhoto © by Alok TewariKeoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, January-2017
Complete breeding plumage and color, subspecies P. c. sinensis
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, January-2017
Phalacrocorax carbo


[edit] Identification

80–100 cm (31½-39½ in)

  • Blackish plumage
  • White throat
  • Yellow gape
  • White thigh patch in breeding plumage

Juvenile whitish underparts

[edit] Similar Species

Forehead less steep than European Shag. Juvenile/immature Shags both have a white throat. Cormorant always have dark feet and young Shags have paler feet (webs between the toes).

Subspecies P. c. novoehollandiaePhoto © by NoraMelton, Melbourne, Australia, May 2007
Subspecies P. c. novoehollandiae
Photo © by Nora
Melton, Melbourne, Australia, May 2007

[edit] Distribution

Almost worldwide; absent from Antarctica, South America and much of North America. In North America found north of Nova Scotia in breeding season.

Winters south to Florida along the coast. Also winters in small numbers in Lake Ontario.

[edit] Taxonomy

Some authorities consider the White-breasted Cormorant of Africa to be a separate species Phalacrocorax lucidus (Lepage, 2007)[2].

[edit] Subspecies

There are 6 subspecies[1]:

  • P. c. carbo:
  • P. c. novaehollandiae:
  • P. c. sinensis:
Nominate subspecies, breeding plumagePhoto © by Joe52Bournemouth, UK, January 2014
Nominate subspecies, breeding plumage
Photo © by Joe52
Bournemouth, UK, January 2014
  • P. c. hanedae:
  • P. c. maroccanus:
  • P. c. lucidus:

[edit] Habitat

Open water and rocky coastline. Breeds on sea cliffs and on inland trees. .

[edit] Behaviour

Nominate subspecies, juvenilePhoto © by MacswedeSkÃ¥ne, Sweden, April 2013
Nominate subspecies, juvenile
Photo © by Macswede
Skåne, Sweden, April 2013

Often seen perched on rocks, bouys and posts with their wings outspread. Swims low in the water with head raised

[edit] Diet

Their diet consists mostly of fish; crustaceans and amphibians are also eaten.

[edit] Flight

Flies higher over the water than Shags; flocks forming long lines or V-shapes.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

[edit] Gallery

Click images to see larger version

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Birdwatchers Pocket Guide ISBN 1-85732-804-3
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2014)
  5. BF Member Observations

[edit] External Links


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