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Neotropic Cormorant - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies brasilianus
Photo © by Aracari
Sao Paulo Botanical Gardens, Brazil, October 2006

Alternative names: Neotropical Cormorant; Olivaceous Cormorant

Nannopterum brasilianus

Phalacrocorax brasilianus

Identification

58–73 cm (22¾-28¾ in)
W. 100 cm
Weight 1-1.5 kg

  • Dark brown to blackish
  • Yellow-brown throat patch (gular pouch) which at the rear ends in a sharp point
  • Brownish feathering in the lores and supraloral area

Breeding

First Year bird; subspecies mexicanus
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Chambers County, Texas, USA, September 2017
  • White tufts on the sides of the head
  • Throat patch develops a white edge

Juvenile

Subspecies P. b. mexicanus
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
High Island--Smith Oaks Sanctuary, Bolivar Peninsula, Texas, USA, 19 April 2021

Brownish

Similar species

Compare especially to Double-crested Cormorant which differ in being larger and stockier, having shorter tail, rounded gular pouch, and yellow bare skin in the loral and supraloral area. Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant is paler on the breast and sometimes even head and neck when compared to same age Neotropic.

Distribution

North America: Mexico, Arizona, southern Texas, and locally in New Mexico. Accidental vagrant to California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois, Alabama and most remarkably Ontario1. The regular occurrence in Arizona is the result of a recent range expansion.
In the Caribbean found in Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Cuba.
Central America and South America: found throughout, including Tiera del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. The name, which hints that this is a tropical species therefore is wrong.

Taxonomy

Subspecies brasilianus
Photo © by Luis R
Mouth of Elqui River, La Serena, Chile, November 2018

Some field guides2 still use Phalacrocorax olivaceus for this species.

Subspecies

Two subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • P. b. mexicanus:
  • P. b. brasilianus:

Habitat

Sea shores, lakes, and marshes. It can be found in salt water, brackish water, as well as fresh water habitats.

Behaviour

Dives from the surface, swimming well under water to chase prey. Often perches on logs, pilings, tree limbs, or even wires, sometimes spreading its wings in the sun to dry. Usually flies low over the surface of open water with strong, rapid wing beats.

Diet

Their diet consists of small fish, tadpoles, frogs, crustaceans and aquatic insects.

Breeding

Their nest is a platform of sticks with a depression in the centre circled with twigs and grass. The clutch contains up to 5 chalky bluish-white eggs which are incubated by both adults for about 25–30 days.

References

  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. 2005 Ontario Bird Records Committee Report (http://www.ofo.ca/obrc/includes/2005OBRCReport.pdf)
  3. Ridgely & Gwynne: A guide to the birds of Panama ISBN 0691025126
  4. RADAMAKER and CORMAN STATUS OF NEOTROPIC CORMORANT IN ARIZONA WITH NOTES ON IDENTIFICATION AND AGEING
  5. elfair II, R. C. and M. L. Morrison (2020). Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.neocor.02
  1. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

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