Great Cormorant Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A heavyset seabird with a long, thick neck, blocky head, and heavy hooked bill. The legs are short, the tail fairly long, and the wings broad.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Double-crested Cormorant, smaller than a Brown Pelican.

    Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 33.1-35.4 in (84-90 cm)
      • Weight: 91.7-130.5 oz (2600-3700 g)
      • Wingspan: 51.2-63.0 in (130-160 cm)

Regional Differences

One subspecies in North America (carbo). At least 6 other subspecies worldwide, in Eurasia, Africa, and Australia, are smaller and differ in breeding plumage adornments, underparts pattern, and back sheen color.

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