During the non-breeding season, adults lack the crest, have a duller facial area, and less/no white to the back/wings. The most important guano producers are the Peruvian cormorant, or guanay, P. bougainvillii, and the Cape cormorant, P. capensis, of coastal southern Africa. Cormorants have a long hook-tipped bill, patches of bare skin on the face, and a small gular sac (throat pouch). In North America, it’s on the Pacific coast where cormorant diversity reaches its peak. For the species from New Zealand, see. The world’s largest diamond comes from Africa. That group consists of the two families treated here, along with the boobies, frigatebirds, and tropicbirds, all highly aerial marine species. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). A cormorant, also known as a sea bird, in a group is called: flight Does a cormorant have scales? Scaring cormorants away from a fishery. © 2019 10,000 Birds // All rights reserved. Great edition, Nate! Omissions? In Europe, it can hardly be confused with any other bird. Corrections? Here it is. I love photographing them. Cormorant, also called shag, any member of about 26 to 30 species of water birds constituting the family Phalacrocoracidae (order Pelecaniformes or Suliformes).  They primarily feed on fish, especially Argentine anchoita,. Thanks so much for the education. No extra oil is required. It possesses a distinctive ring of blue skin around its eyes, an orange-yellow nasal knob, pinkish legs and feet, and an erectile black crest. However, this necessitates regular time out of the water to dry sodden feathers and regulate body temperature; the time spent in that classic crucificial position. The colonies are usually relatively small, but some consist of hundreds of pairs and are often shared with other seabirds such as rock shags, southern rockhopper penguins and black-browed albatrosses.  Most subspecies are relatively common with estimates of over 10,000 pairs of each, "King cormorant" redirects here. Learn about cormorant fishing, a traditional method of fishing in Japan that uses trained cormorants.  Up to five eggs (usually two or three) are placed in a nest made of seaweed and grass, and cemented together with mud and excrement. […] were lounging by each other, silently, in perfect harmony until the Darters came over to wreck their zen mode. This seabird lives along the coasts of the northern Pacific; during winter it can also be found in the open ocean. (1992). This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/animal/cormorant, Birds in Backyards - Little Black Cormorant, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology - All About Birds - Pelagic Cormorant. How do Cormorants take off from the water? This book, written by a nun named Juliana Barnes, covered the topics of hunting, fishing, and coats of arms, and it also included the first-ever list of collective nouns for every type of animal one could possibly imagine. Both families use their feet for propulsion, and as such those appendages are uniquely webbed across all four toes, effectively broadening the surface area they use to propel themselves. The following are considered part of this group: While some authorities consider all of the above – except albiventer – as separate species, others consider all as subspecies of a single species (as done in this article). Let’s take the two families together, and then separately. Orta, J. (1992). That group consists of the two families treated here, along with the boobies, frigatebirds, and tropicbirds, all highly aerial marine species.  The taxonomy is very complex, and several former subspecies are often considered separate species. All words, images, and opinions are the property of their respective authors unless stated otherwise. So happy about the return of “I and the Bird!” Learned a lot and only snickered a little bit about “Shags.” So immature of me but there you go!  Many chicks and eggs are lost to predators such as skuas and sheathbills. Pity the poor cormorant.  The eggs usually hatch in about five weeks, and are brooded by both parents. Taxonomically, a cormorant and a shag is a distinction without a difference. Pelagic cormorants have relatively short wings due to their need for economical movement underwater, and consequently have the highest flight costs of any bird. The long-tailed, slim-necked darters are among the most specialized of an order full of specialization. Analogous to other smallish cormorants, it is also called the pelagic shag occasionally. Chile and Argentina seem to harbor the classiest looking corms, and the Imperial Shag and Red-legged Cormorant are as beautiful as anything you’re going to find in the tropics. A Cormorant taking off from the water…doing the Cormorant Hop! While cormorants have hooked bills for snatching fish out of the water, darters are true anglers. While most cormorants are humbly attired in nappy black, several species, particularly in the southern hemisphere, are real stunners with varying shades of white and steely gray and colorful feet and faces.