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4

Great Cormorant

(Phalacrocorax carbo)
Alternate name(s): "Black Cormorant", "Black Shag", "Large Black Cormorant", "Great Black Cormorant"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "carboides": "karbanga", "kardakart" (WA); "muloora"

Size: 70-102 cm; wingspan: 1.2-1.6 m
Weight: 1.2-3.0 kg

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Great Cormorant at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "carboides"

ADULT

BREEDING

Near-lateral view of a Great Cormorant in breeding plumage on its nest, with a clear view of the warty skin on the chin, the orange cheek patch and the bristly nuptial plumes on the neck (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, April 2013]

Lateral view of a Great Cormorant in breeding plumage on its nest, with a clear view of the warty skin on the chin, the orange cheek patch and the bristly nuptial plumes on the neck (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, April 2013]

Pair of Great Cormorants in breeding plumage mating on their nest; in such cases it is clear which of the two is the male and the female... (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, May 2018]

Pair of Great Cormorants in breeding plumage after mating on their nest; in such cases it is clear which of the two is the male and the female... (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, May 2018]

NON-BREEDING

Lateral view of a Great Cormorant, with a clear view of the characteristic facial pattern, including the turquoise-blue eyes
(photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Near Swifts Creek, East Gippsland, VIC, November 2014]

Lateral view of a Great Cormorant drying its plumage
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Lateral view of two Great Cormorants
[Walgett, NSW, October 2010]

Close-up dorsal view of a Great Cormorant (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Botanical Garden, Melbourne, VIC, October 2017]

Dorsal view of a Great Cormorant drying its plumage after fishing in a swamp
[MacPhersons Road Swamp, Wyong, NSW, July 2013]

Lateral view of a Great Cormorant in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, October 2011]

Dorsal view of a Great Cormorant in flight
[Brewarrina, NSW, October 2010]

Great Cormorant seen from underneath
[Goran Lake, NSW, October 2011]

Covey of Great Cormorants in flight (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Direct comparison of a Great Cormorant, left, with a Little Black Cormorant, right (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Moree, NSW, September 2013]

Great Cormorants and Pied Cormorants can be seen to fly together in one skein
[Near Moree, NSW, June 2013]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Close-up lateral view of a juvenile Great Cormorant (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, October 2017]

Race "sinensis"

Photos of race "sinensis" were obtained by us in Oman and also in Europe.

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Jun Eggs: 3 - 5 Incubation period: 27 - 31 days Fledging age: ca. 49 days

The breeding season of Great Cormorants depends on geographical latitude. In principle they can breed at any time of year. Chicks will leave the nest after about 4 weeks, staying on nearby branches until they fledge at age ca. 7 weeks.

Nest building: Female & male Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Sticks Height above ground: 0 - 10 m

Coastal nests can be on the ground, on rocks, while inland nests are usually built in trees. In coastal river estuaries nests can be at low height, e.g. in mangrove.

Near-lateral view of a Great Cormorant in breeding plumage on its nest, with a clear view of the warty skin on the chin, the orange cheek patch and the bristly nuptial plumes on the neck (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, April 2013]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 60 x 35 mm Colour: White, with green or blue tint Shape: Long tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Pair/flock

During the breeding season Great Cormorants can be seen performing nuptial displays.

Near-lateral view of a Great Cormorant in breeding plumage in nuptial display on its nest (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, April 2013]

Dorsal view of a Great Cormorant in breeding plumage in nuptial display on its nest (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, May 2017]

Food, Diet

Like most other members of the Phalacrocorax family, Great Cormorants feed primarily on fish.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

grtcorm_20170701.m4a carboides
(NW NSW)
Arrival © MD
 
grtcorm_dw_20170815.m4a sinensis
(Poland)
? (flock) © DW
grtcorm_dw_20170815_1.m4a sinensis
(Poland)
? (flock) © DW

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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