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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


Click here for sighting information


Race "carboides"


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]

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]

Group 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]

Race "sinensis"

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


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

Food, Diet

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


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
Arrival © MD
grtcorm_dw_20170815.m4a sinensis
? (flock) © DW
grtcorm_dw_20170815_1.m4a sinensis
? (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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If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.