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Pelagic Cormorant

Phalacrocorax pelagicus ORDER: SULIFORMES FAMILY: PHALACROCORACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Pelagic Cormorant is a small, slender cormorant of the Pacific Coast. Although it is exclusively marine in habits, its name is misleading, since it prefers inshore areas rather than the open ocean.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
20.1–29.9 in
51–76 cm
Wingspan
39.4–47.6 in
100–121 cm
Weight
48.3–86.1 oz
1370–2440 g
Other Names
  • Baird's Cormorant
  • Cormoran Pélagique (French)
  • Cormorán Pelágico, Pato sargento (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Pelagic Cormorant uses its own guano to solidify its nest materials and to cement its nest to the cliff face.
  • The Pelagic Cormorant is among the least gregarious or social of the cormorants, nesting on steep cliffs along rocky and exposed shorelines, either in loose colonies or far from nearest neighbors.

Habitat


Shore-line

Found in inshore coastal waters. Breeding and roost sites include rocky habitat along outer coast, bays, inlets, estuaries, rapids, coves, surge narrows, harbors, lagoons, and coastal log-storage sites.

Food


Fish

Fish and marine invertebrates.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–8 eggs
Egg Description
Greenish white to bluish.
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Compact shallow bowl of mostly grass and seaweeds, but also mosses, sticks, feathers and general marine debris (including rope, plastic, and other human-made objects); lined with dry vegetation. Placed on narrow ledges on high, steep, inaccessible rocky cliffs, facing the sea.

Nest Placement

Cliff

Behavior


Surface Dive

Dives from the surface of the water and chases prey under water. Grabs fish in bill, without spearing it.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Populations appear stable. Numbers were reduced by human and natural disturbances from 1850 to 1900s.

Credits

  • Hobson, K. A. 1997. Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus). In The Birds of North America, No. 282 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Range Map Help

Pelagic Cormorant Range Map
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