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Double-crested Cormorant

Phalacrocorax auritus ORDER: SULIFORMES FAMILY: PHALACROCORACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

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.

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Calls

The Double-crested Cormorant makes deep, guttural grunts that sound a bit like an oinking pig. They grunt when taking off or landing, or during mating or aggressive displays, but otherwise are generally silent.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

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 wing beats are slow and labored.