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Cormorant question: Photo taken in Ireland (1 Viewer)

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
Yes, both in breeding condition. The amount of white on the head increases as birds age so the nearer bird looks substantially older than the far one.

Your photo shows the shape of the patch of skin around the bill very clearly, enough to say that both birds are of the local subspecies carbo as opposed to the continental one, sinensis. The latter on average have more extensive and brighter white on the head.

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Adults acquire their breeding appearance/plumage early - from February onwards with a full post-breeding moult in July-November. Note also the white thigh patch, acquired as early as January - both the white patch and the white head will go once they are breeding.

Btw both male and females have the same plumage. Males are a bit larger so the one behind is probably female in answer to your other question.

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