Neotropic Cormorant

Silhouette CormorantsCormorants

Neotropic Cormorant

Phalacrocorax brasilianus
  • ORDER: Suliformes
  • FAMILY: Phalacrocoracidae
Basic Description

A nearly all-black waterbird with a snaky neck, the Neotropic Cormorant occurs in sheltered waters of southern U.S. states, the Caribbean, and Latin America. It is smaller and longer-tailed than other cormorants, but otherwise looks very similar to the Double-crested Cormorant, and the two species often flock together. Unlike its larger cousin, it sometimes plunge-dives for fish from a few feet above the water, almost like a booby, though it dives mostly as it paddles along the water’s surface, catching fish as it darts through the water.

More ID Info
image of range map for Neotropic CormorantRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Flocks of cormorants are fairly easy to spot whether nesting in trees, flying in loose formation, or resting on the water. The hard part is to distinguish this smaller species from the widespread Double-crested Cormorant, but look for Neotropic’s longer tail. Unlike some other cormorants, it may perch on utility wires and even in thin branches in treetops. Neotropic Cormorants often fish in sheltered water and can occur far inland, so look for them at fish farms, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, inlets, and bays.

Other Names
  • Cormorán Biguá (Spanish)
  • Cormoran vigua (French)
  • Cool Facts