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Brandt's Cormorant


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large cormorant of the Pacific Coast, the Brandt's Cormorant is found only in marine environments.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
27.6–31.1 in
70–79 cm
42.5 in
108 cm
49.4–95.2 oz
1400–2700 g
Other Names
  • Cormorán de Brandt, Sargento guanero, Pato buzo
  • Cormoran de Brandt (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Brandt's Cormorant is the least vocal of the North American cormorants at the nest. It makes sounds that are audible only from a few feet away.
  • In the main part of its range, from California to Washington, the Brandt's Cormorant is tied to the rich food sources associated with upwellings of the California Current. In the nonbreeding season, when the effects of this current diminish, populations redistribute along the coast, occurring where food is locally available.
  • The oldest recorded Brandt's Cormorant was over 17 years, 10 months old.



Found 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.



Fish and some squid.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–6 eggs
Egg Description
Pale blue or bluish white.
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless.
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.

Nest Placement



Surface Dive

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


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Brandt'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.


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