Friday, May 6, 2011

Great Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo
The Great Cormorant is a large seabird that can be found across the world in various subspecies. They are the most widespread of all the Cormorants, and can be found on coastlines in Europe, eastern North America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Great Cormorants are excellent fishermen, but unlike the many species that grab their fish near the surface of the water, Cormorants actually dive down for their meals. They plunge into the water to catch fish that live near the bottom, diving down as far as 115ft (35m)!

Great Cormorants roost in colonies that can number up to 20,000 birds, though far smaller numbers are more common. They nest on cliffs, but also sometimes in very tall trees. Nests are sometimes reused year after year.

Due to their fishing skills, Cormorants and fishermen don't always get along, and the species was persecuted to near extinction in the past. Conservation efforts in the 20th century have increased their numbers, and the population is now large and stable.

IUCN Status :  Least Concern
Location : Found worldwide
Size : Length up to 40in (102cm), Wingspan up to 60in (152cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Pelecaniformes
Family : Phalacrocoracidae -- Genus : Phalacrocorax -- Species : P. carbo

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