Great Cormorant

Great Cormorants

Great Cormorants

Great Cormorants
All images are Great Cormorants at L'Oceanogràfic,
Valencia, Spain. ©
Latin Name Phalacrocorax carbo
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location N America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia & New Zealand
Colour Black
Length 80 - 90 cm (32 - 35 inches)
Wingspan 120 - 160 cms (47 - 63 inches)
Weight Up to 3.5 Kgs (7.75 lbs)
Life Expectancy -

Main Characteristics

Great Cormorants are one of the world's most widespread coastal seabirds. They reach lengths between 80 and 90 cms (32 - 35 inches), they have a wingspan between 120 and 160 cms (47 - 63 inches) and they weigh up to 3.5 kgs (7.75 lbs).


Great Cormorants can be found on almost any large area of water in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.


Great Cormorants mainly feed on fish, but they also supplement their diet with crustaceans and aquatic insects. They make shallow dives lasting no more than one minute when hunting for food, but they are capable of diving to depths of 30 m (100 ft).


Great Cormorants nest in colonies and 3 - 4 eggs are laid in a nest made of twigs or seaweed. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the youngsters.


Humans are predators of Great Cormorants.


Subspecies of the Great Cormorant include:

Phalacrocorax carbo carbo
Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae
Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis

Interesting Facts

Great Cormorants are also known as:
Great Black Cormorant
Black Cormorant (in Australia)
Black Shag (in New Zealand)

Pelicans and their relatives make up the order "Pelecaniformes" and they can be distinguished from other birds by having feet with all four toes webbed - totipalmate.

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