Common Name: Double-crested Cormorant
photo Ivan Andrijevic
Double-crested Cormorants are in the
Order Pelcaniformes and Family Phalacrocoracidae which
consists groups them together with cormorants. They are
mainly found in and around seacoasts and inland waters.
Double-crested Cormorants are 32 inches (81cm) in size with a
52 inch (132 cm)wingspan. They are black overall with an orange
throat patch and orange lores. During the breeding
season they have two tufts behind their eyes. The color
of the Double-crested Cormorants eyes is a beautiful
turquoise color. Both males and females look similar.
Double-crested Cormorants occupy diverse aquatic
habitats but are more widespread during the wintering season. They
prefer coastlines, inshore waters, beaches and inland rivers and
lakes. They are highly adaptive and can live in either fresh or salt
water. Double-crested Cormorants winter in Florida and the Gulf of
Mexico. They breed in Alaska, Pacific Coast, Canada and United
States interior and from New Foundland to New York. They nest on
rocks, cliffs and trees facing water.
The diet of Double-crested Cormorants consists almost
entirely of fish. They dive from the surface of the water in pursuit
of their prey.
photo Ivan Andrijevic
Double-crested Cormorants fly higher than most other
Comorants and fly with a crooked neck. When swimming they are
usually very low in the water and only their neck and head is
visible. While Double-crested Cormorants are resting, they are often
seen perching with their wings fanned out to dry.
Double-crested Cormorants have a. monogamous mating
system, usually having one brood per year. They have a complex
courtship ritual where the male will pursues the female splashing
the water with his wings. Then they swim in a zig zag pattern until
their heads are submerged. They dive and when surface the male has
vegetation that he either drops near the female or tosses in the
air. They nest in colonies found on cliffs and trees facing the
water. Both sexes incubate the 3-4 eggs that the female laid for
25-29 days. Young are altricial when hatched which means they are
immobile, blind and helpless. Both sexes care for young until they
are ready to fledge which is about 35-42 days after hatching.
Where to see
A great place to see Double-crested Cormorants is
along the Niagara River either along the 1-90 near the Peace
Bridge or at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island.