Brandt's Cormorant Life History


Habitat OceansFound in inshore coastal waters, especially areas with kelp beds; also large bays and occasionally estuaries or coastal lagoons. Breeding colonies located on gentle slopes on windward side of islands, or steep cliffs with ledges.Back to top


Food FishFish and some squid.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Cliff

Nest Description

Substantial circular drum of dry matter collected from around colony, including items stolen from other nests, grass, moss, and weeds from near colony, seaweed collected by diving, and occasionally sticks or rubbish.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:1-6 eggs
Egg Description:Pale blue or bluish white.
Condition at Hatching:Naked and helpless.
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Behavior Surface DiveDives from the surface of the water and chases prey under water. Grabs fish in bill, without spearing it.Back to top


Conservation Restricted RangeBrandt's Cormorant populations are stable to declining. The Waterbird Conservation for the Americas estimates that there are 151,200 breeding birds on the continent, rate them a 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and list them as a Species of High Concern. Legal protection from egging and hunting may have led to increases in populations from 1900 to 1970. They are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.Back to top


Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

Wallace, Elizabeth A. and George E. Wallace. (1998). Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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