Neotropic Cormorant

(Phalacrocorax brasilianus (=olivaceus))


Neotropic Cormorant IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The neotropic cormorant is a large, dark waterbird with a long hooked bill and a long tail. The neck is long and often S-shaped. The adult plumage is mainly black, with a yellow throat patch. Length is about 65 cm, with a wingspan of youth 1 m and a weight of 1 to 1.5 kg. The sexes are similar in appearance and size.

Neotropical cormorants breed in often very large colonies. Breeding occurs all year round with locally varying peaks. Stick nests lined with grass or sea weed are built in trees or bushes, or on rocky ground. A clutch consists of usually 3-4 eggs, which are incubated for about 30 days. The hatchlings are naked and will grow black down.

Neotropical cormorants feed on small fish, frogs, tadpoles, crustaceans and aquatic. insects.

Did you know?
that, after feeding, cormorants need to dry their wings? They do not have oil in their skin to protect their feathers from getting wet, like ducks and other water birds do.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Phalacrocorax brasilianus (=olivaceus)
Name (English) Neotropic Cormorant
Name (French) Cormoran vigua
Name (German) Olivenscharbe
Name (Spanish) Pato yeco
Local names Portuguese: Biguá
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Hans Hillewaert



Range South America, Central America, Mexico and Southern USA
Habitat Found in a wide variety of aquatic habitats: marshy ponds, coastal waters, inland fresh water and brackish water.
Wild population This species has a large global population estimated to be 2,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Numbers declined sharply in the mid 20th century, but has since recovered.
Zoo population 39 reported to ISIS (2007, Phalacrocorax olivaceus)

In the Zoo

Neotropic Cormorant


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 21 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Luis Argerich

Why do zoos keep this animal

The neotropic cormorant is not a threatened species in the wild. It is kept primarily for educational purposes to demonstrate one of the ways birds have adapted to aquatic habitats. It can also serve as an ambassador species for these aquatic habitats which, in many cases, are threatened due to pollution, urbanization and other human activities.