in size between the larger Great Cormorant and the smaller
Neotropical Cormorant [74-91 cm (29-36 inches) total length].
Orange-yellow facial skin and throat pouch.
alike, males average larger. Head and body including neck, black.
Orange facial skin and pouch. Crest absent in non-breeding birds and
not particularly apparent in breeding adults. Mean adult life
expectancy 6.1 years, known to survive to over 17 years.
Neck and upper breast pale have white feathers scaled with brown.
Alternative Common Names
Cormoran a aigrettes
Cormoran Orejudo, Cormoran Bicrestado, Corua de Mar.
subspecies are recognized. P. a. auritus breeds
most of species range in the US and Canada; winters along Atlantic and Gulf coast and along
Central American coast in Caribbean.
P. a. floridana breeds
North Carolina and throughout Florida panhandle and northern Bahamas.
P. a. heuretus
is an endemic dwarf race that uses the freshwater lakes on San Salvador and probably
Cuba. Small numbers of migrants of the two
continental subspecies likely occur in northern West Indies during the
freshwater lakes and ponds. Often seen in small groups, and
occasionally in small flocks around inlets and marine areas where
species is the most common and widespread cormorant the western North
America. The heart of the breeding range is in central states and
also with nesting populations on portions of both coasts. Like the
other cormorants it also resides in marine habitats in coastal areas,
feeding in bays and sounds and near inlets. Only rarely is it seen at
sea out of sight of land. Occurs throughout much of North America, with
northern freshwater and coastal populations migrating to ice-free
coastal marine and estuarine habitats outside the breeding season. Also
occurs in the Bahamas and Cuba. Three subspecies in occur our region,
two breed here.
P. a. heuretus
breeds in an inland lake on San
Salvador, but it is also suspected of nesting on Eleuthera and Rum Cay.
Florida subspecies has bred in the Central Bahamas (Long Island), the
taxonomic identity of cormorants nesting in Cuba not clear (could be
either or both of these races). In Cuba, it breeds in scattered
small cays off northern coast (from Bahia de Cadiz to Cayo Santa
Maria), in southern Havana province, and Golfo de Guacanayabo. Bahamian
Cuban breeding populations are year-round residents.
a freshwater species with birds migrating to coastal ice-free
habitats in winter. Females may be more migratory than males. Migrant
populations begin to leave southern most wintering areas as early as
February. Extent of use of coastal habitats by resident cormorants
breeding in Bahamas and Cuba unclear. Coastal birds need feeding,
loafing, and roosting sites. Feeds by diving from surface. The diet is
mostly fish but prey items of cormorants in marine environments and in
the West Indies region unstudied.
in colonies, nest of large sticks mostly in trees. Most individuals
breeding by 4th year. One to seven pale blue eggs. Incubation 25-28
days, fledging period 6-8 weeks. Young independent of parents by 10 weeks
(information from various studies of North American populations). No
regional published studies.
and Nettleship 1984
and Buckley 1984
and Buckley 1984
Salvador, Eleuthera, Rum Cay
and Lee 2001
Total for Western Atlantic
et al. 2002
Total for North America
et al. 2002
is an abundant species in North America and is of no conservation
concern. Populations there are expanding. In the Bahamas the endemic
dwarf race (P.
a. heuretus) is very
rare and probably should be
considered as threatened. The more widespread Florida race (P.
from the Carolinas south into the Northern Bahamas
and Cuba but is not considered to be of conservation concern.
identity of populations (breeding and wintering) in Bahamas
(other than San Salvador) and Cuba need to be confirmed. Surveys of
nesting colonies needed as there is little information regarding sizes
of breeding populations. No information available on the biology of
migratory or resident cormorants in the region.
rats on San Salvador threaten endemic cormorant population and other
local species of nesting seabirds.
Salvador is under the threat of expanding tourist development. There is
no specific protection for these birds in the region.
typically fall off the radar of both seabird biologists and
conservationists concerned with protecting endemic species of land
birds and their habitats.
G. B and D. N. Nettleship 1984. The seabirds of northeastern
North America: their present status and conservation requirements.
85-100 in J. P.
Croxall, P. G. Evans and R. W. Schreiber (eds). Status
and Conservation of the World’s Seabirds. ICBP Tech. Publ., No. 2. 778
and F. G. Buckley. 1984. Seabirds of the North and Middle Atlantic
coast of the United States: their status and conservation. Pages
in J. P. Croxall, P. G. Evans and R. W. Schreiber (eds.).
Conservation of the World's Seabirds. ICBP Tech. Publ., No. 2. 778 p.
R. B. and P. A. Buckley. 1984. Status and conservation of seabirds in
the southeastern United States. Pages
135-155 in J. P. Croxall, P. G.
Evans and R. W. Schreiber (eds). Status and Conservation of the World's
Seabirds. ICBP Tech. Publ., No. 2. 778 p.
J. J. and D. V. Weseloh. 1999. Double-crested
auritus). In The Birds
of North America, No.
441 (A. Pool and F. Gill. Ed.). The Birds of North America, Inc.,
J.A. et al. 2002. Waterbird
Conservation for the Americas: The North American Waterbird
Conservation Plan, Version I. Waterbird Conservation for the Americas,
Washington, DC. 78 p.
A and D. S. Lee. 2001. Bahamian
Seabirds: an international resource. Pages
59-65 in E. Carey,
Buckner, A. C. Alberts, R.D. Hudson, and D. S. Lee. Protected Areas
Management Strategy for Bahamian Terrestrial Vertebrates: Iguanas and
Seabirds. IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialists Group, Apple
Valley, MN 55124. 74p.
Indian Breeding Seabird Atlas by Will
Mackin and David Lee is licensed
under a Creative
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
License. Based on
work at www.wicbirds.net.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.wicbirds.net.
Citation: Lee, D. S., W. A. Mackin. 2009. Double-crested Cormorant. West Indian
Breeding Seabird Atlas
<http://www.wicbirds.net/dcco.html>. Last Updated: _____.