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4

Pied Cormorant

(Phalacrocorax varius)
Alternate name(s): "Yellow-faced Cormorant", "Pied Shag", "Black-and-white Shag*"
Aboriginal name(s): "madi" (WA)

Size: 65-80 cm; wing span 1.0-1.5 m
Weight: 1.4-2.2 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 Pied Cormorant at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

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Race "hypoleucos"

ADULT

BREEDING

Near-frontal view of a Pied Cormorant in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Caloundra, QLD, August 2017]

Lateral view of a Pied Cormorant in full breeding plumage; note the brightness and the radiant colours of the facial skin (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Cape Borda, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Close-up lateral portrait of a Pied Cormorant in full breeding plumage; note the brightness and the radiant colours of the facial skin (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Cape Borda, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Lateral view of a Pied Cormorant in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of S. Kirkby)
[Ord River, WA, June 2011]

Lateral view of two Pied Cormorants in breeding plumage; note the bright colours of their facial skin patches and eyerings; the black flanks distinguish them from Little Pied Cormorants
[Iluka NR, NSW, February 2012]

Dorsal view of a Pied Cormorants in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Alfred Cove, Swan River, Perth, WA, January 2017]

NON-BREEDING

Near-frontal view of a Pied Cormorant in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Near-frontal view of a Pied Cormorant in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Thurmer)
[Semaphore Beach, SA, February 2009]

Lateral view of a Pied Cormorant in non-breeding plumage
[Yarrie Lake, near Wee Waa, NSW, October 2011]

Dorsal view of a Pied Cormorant in non-breeding plumage
[Yarrie Lake, near Wee Waa, NSW, October 2011]

This photo of a Pied Cormorant in non-breeding plumage on Lake Argyle, which is a man-made water storage dam, gives a good impression of its size (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Group of four Pied Cormorants in flight
[Goran Lake, NSW, August 2011]

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

Pied Cormorant returning to its roost after a day's worth of fishing in coastal waters
[Old Bar, NSW, July 2013]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile Pied Cormorant; note the brownish back and the streaking on the side of the chest (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Nitmiluk NP (Katherine Gorge), NT, December 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a juvenile Pied Cormorant (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Nitmiluk NP (Katherine Gorge), NT, December 2017]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Dec - Jun Eggs: 2 - 4 Incubation period: ca. 30 days Fledging age: ca. 28 days

The breeding season of Pied Cormorants depends on geographical latitude. In principle they can breed at any time of year.

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.

Pied Cormorant on its nest (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)

Pied Cormorant in breeding plumage on its nest with a chick (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, March 2013]

Example of colonial nesting of Pied Cormorants (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, March 2015]

Pied Cormorant in breeding plumage on its nest feeding a chick (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, March 2013]

Pied Cormorants in breeding plumage feeding their chicks - note the full crops (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, March 2014]

Pied Cormorant in breeding plumage feeding a chick - as the chicks grow older the process of feeding them can become a bit of a rowdy routine (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, May 2013]

Lateral view of a Pied Cormorant in breeding plumage carrying nesting material (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, January 2014]

Eggs

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

Size: 60 x 40 mm Colour: Faint-blue, chalky Shape: Long tapered oval

Behaviour

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

In the breeding season Pied Cormorants can be seen performing nuptial displays.

Lateral view of a Pied Cormorant's nuptial display (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Centennial Park, Sydney, December 2013]

Food, Diet

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

This Pied Cormorant may have taken a baitfish, with the hook it was on - the fishing line is still dangling from the bird's bill
(photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)

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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