- ORDER: Suliformes
- FAMILY: Phalacrocoracidae
The trim, glossy-black Red-faced Cormorant has a vivid cherry-red face and yellowish bill during the breeding season, along with a bold square of white feathers on its flanks. It inhabits some of the most remote places in Alaska and eastern Asia, where it overlaps with the very similar (but slightly smaller) Pelagic Cormorant. Red-faced Cormorants are hardy and rather shy, building nests on steep cliff faces overlooking the North Pacific. They are less gregarious than other cormorant species and often nest in single pairs rather than in colonies.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Red-faced Cormorants remain close to shore year-round—so the biggest challenge to finding them is reaching their remote habitat. One of the best places to find them is on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, where pairs typically nest in accessible parts of St. Paul Island.
- Cormorán Carirrojo (Spanish)
- Cormoran à face rouge (French)
- Cool Facts
- Red-faced are slightly larger and bulkier than Pelagic Cormorants but can be difficult to discern at a distance. These smallish cormorants belong to a worldwide group of cliff-nesting species often referred to as shags, all with similar genetics, structure, and behavior.
- In all shags, young birds sometimes “play house” near the edges of colonies during the breeding season, practicing courtship and nest-building with a temporary partner for a few days.
- Where Red-faced and Pelagic Cormorants overlap in range, Red-faced begins breeding earlier, presumably so that it will have less competition for premium nest sites. Some studies suggest that Red-faced Cormorants select nest sites in steeper and higher locations than Pelagic uses.