Sunday, 23 August 2009

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

                              Adult Great Cormorant (subspecies P. c. sinensis or P. c. carbo or hybrid) at Kensington Gardens - March 2010

OTHER NAMES: Cormorant, Black-Cormorant, White-Breasted Cormorant
Local Name (Spain): Cormorán grande ("Large Cormorant")
Local Name (Japan): Kawa-u (カワウ) - "River Cormorant"
Features Subspecies: Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis or carbo or hybrid of the two
Weight: 2.5kg
Length: 80-100cm
Wingspan: 121-160cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The cormorant is a very widespread bird, and can be seen practically anywhere in the country where near suitable bodies of water - it is in fact one of the few birds that I've seen in every major location I've photographed in (although a single solitary bird flying over Geddington marks the only bird there). It can be found along the entire coast, and up major rivers. It can also increasingly be found inland. For the closest views of this bird, I'm inclined to recommend the London Parks - as with any other bird, the necessity of living in closer proximity to humans than ones in the countryside makes them considerably less flighty, and thus suitable for closer photographs, although you should of course still not go close enough to cause them distress.  In Japan, the Great Cormorant is primarily a freshwater species, and is replaced in the coastal habitat by the very similar Japanese Cormorant.

Related Species:
Order: Suliformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Subspecies: P. c. carbo, P. c. novaehollandiae, P. c. sinensis, P. c. hanedae, P. c. maroccanus, P. c. lucidus

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Common to Locally abundant Breeding Resident (9000 pairs) and Common Winter Visitor (41000 birds)
 - Birds seen commonly at a large number of sites, including but not limited to Rutland Water, Trevose Head, Rainham Marshes, Regent's Park, Kensington GardensPitsford Reservoir, Ditchford Gravel Pits and Eyebrook Reservoir. Occassional flyover in Geddington.
JAPAN - Locally common resident - subspecies P. c. hanedae. Mostly freshwater only, replaced on the coast by the Japanese Cormorant.
 - KYOTO 2013 TRIP: Commonly seen on the Kamo River in Central Kyoto and at Arashiyama
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Seen on rivers in Central Tokyo.
SPAIN - Scarce and Local Resident
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Seen flying over Monfrague National Park.

More Information: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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