Cormorants

Of the six species of Cormorants that have been recorded breeding within Australia, only the Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscescens is endemic. Four other species breed on the mainland, and one each on Heard Island and Macquarie Island. All share the characteristic long slender bodies and neck, short stiff tails, webbed feet, and slender bills with pronounced hooked tip.

Cormorants are medium to large birds, that are skilled fishers.   All share the characteristic long slender bodies and neck, short stiff tails, webbed feet, and slender bills with pronounced hooked tip.  The closely related Darter, while superficially resembling the cormorants, differs by having a pointed bill and long snake-like neck.  Cormorants capture their food, mostly fish and other aquatic animals, in underwater pursuits.

The plumage of the cormorants is not particularly waterproof, and birds are often seen in a characteristic pose with their wings held open, “hung out to dry”.  Due to this, cormorants generally only take to the water when hunting, spending the majority of their time perched in this familiar fashion.

Scientific name: Phalacrocoracidae (family)

Great Cormorant

Great Cormorant

What does it look like?  The large Great Cormorant is one of the largest cormorants in the world. It is almost entirely black in plumage, and can be separated from the Little Black Cormorant by its larger size and by the white chin and yellow throat. Where does it live?  Found in suitable habitats throughout Australia, but is most numerous in the south-east and south-west. What are its habitats a...
Little Black Cormorant

Little Black Cormorant

What does it look like?  The Little Black Cormorant is entirely black in plumage, although the feathers of the back can exhibit a greenish gloss. It lacks the yellow and white facial markings of the larger Great Cormorant . Where is it found? It is a common sight in suitable areas throughout Australia, and can extend deep into the interior at times of flooding.  What are its habitats and h...
Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

What does it look like?  It is identified by its black and white plumage, being  entirely black above and white below.  The larger (65 to 80 cm) Pied Cormorant , resembles the Little Pied Cormorant in plumage, but has a bright yellow-orange face. Where does it live? The Little Pied Cormorant is found in suitable habitats throughout Australia. What are its habitats and habits?  This is one of ...
Pied Cormorant

Pied Cormorant

What does it look like?  The Pied Cormorant resembles the Little Pied Cormorant in plumage, but has a bright yellow-orange face. What are its habitats and habits?  The Pied Cormorant breeds opportunistically, depending on the availability of food, fish, crustaceans and molluscs, and large numbers of birds gather to nest in colonies. Scientific Name:  Phalacrocorax varius Size:  65 to 80 ...