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Double-crested Cormorant

Silhouette CormorantsCormorants
Double-crested CormorantNannopterum auritum
  • ORDER: Suliformes
  • FAMILY: Phalacrocoracidae

Basic Description

The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigatebirds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North America—perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish.

More ID Info
image of range map for Double-crested Cormorant
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look near lakes and coastlines for perched black waterbirds, smaller and with shorter legs than a heron, and a distinctive S-shaped crook in their neck. On the water they sit low, with the head and bill usually tilted slightly upward. You may also see them holding their wings spread-eagled and sunning themselves. Flocks of cormorants fly in irregularly shaped lines or sloppy V’s. In flight, cormorants hold their head up, neck slightly bent, belly hanging low, and their wingbeats are slow and labored.

Other Names

  • Cormorán Orejudo (Spanish)
  • Cormoran à aigrettes (French)
  • Cool Facts