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4

Little Black Cormorant

(Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)
Alternate name(s): "Little Shag", "Little Cormorant"
Aboriginal name(s): "go-go"

Size: 55-65 cm; wing span 1.0 m
Weight: 0.58-1.0 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 Little Black Cormorant at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

BREEDING

Near-frontal view of a Little Black Cormorant in breeding plumage; note the characteristic turquoise-blue eyes and the short white nuptial plumes on the head (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

Lateral view of a Little Black Cormorant in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, April 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a Little Black Cormorant in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, April 2013]

Dorsal view of a Little Black Cormorant in breeding plumage drying its wings (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, January 2015]

NON-BREEDING

Lateral view of a Little Black Cormorant in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, September 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a Little Black Cormorant in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2014]

Group of Little Black Cormorants in non-breeding plumage resting (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Moree, NSW, October 2012]

Little Black Cormorants in non-breeding plumage preening
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, September 2012]

Lateral view of a Little Black Cormorant in water
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, December 2011]

Different lateral view of a Little Black Cormorant in water
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2012]

Dorsal view of a Little Black Cormorant in water; especially with the sunlight reflecting off the feathers as shown here, one can see how slick the plumage is
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2012]

Little Black Cormorant diving
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Lateral view of a Little Black Cormorant in flight
[Near Bourke, NSW, September 2012]

Little Black Cormorant touching down on a lake, eyed suspiciously by a Dusky Moorhen
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2010]

Family of Little Black Cormorants hunting
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, March 2009]

Skein of Little Black Cormorants flying to their roost on a sandy beach
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, September 2016]

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

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile Little Black Cormorant (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Lake Broadwater, near Dalby, QLD, January 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a juvenile Little Black Cormorant (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Coolmunda Dam, Darling Downs, QLD, November 2017]

Two slightly different views of a juvenile Little Black Cormorant; note the dark irises and the absence of any scalloping on the dull brownish-grey wing plumage

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Dec Eggs: 3 - 5 Incubation period: 27 - 28 days Fledging age: 56 - 70 days

The breeding season depends significantly on geographical latitude. In the tropical north Little Black Cormorants breed Feb - May. Given the right conditions, they can breed any time of the year. They breed in colonies, together with other aquatic birds.

Nest

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

Type: Basket Material: Sticks, bark, with soft lining Height above ground: 1 - 30 m

Colony of Little Pied Cormorants nesting in a dead tree; in the lower left corner two nesting pairs of Little Black Cormorants can be seen
[Split Rock Dam, near Manilla, NSW, August 2008]

Eggs

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

Size: 49 x 33 mm Colour: Light blue-green Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Flock

Food, Diet

Like all other members of the Phalacrocorax family, Little Black Cormorants feed on fish and/or crustaceans. We have seen flocks of them hunting in a pack, trapping fish by pushing towards them underwater in a semi-circle.

Little Black Cormorants hunting in saline water (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Darwin, NT, July 2018]

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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