Great Cormorant

(Phalacrocorax carbo)




Facts about this animal

The great cormorant is approximately 94 cm long. It has a long neck. Its head is small with a white throat and blue skin around the small eyes. The bill is yellow at the base and darker at the tip. The body is black with a bluish or green sheen.and wings are blackish-brown coloured. During the breeding season there is a white patch on the thigh, and throughout the year a variable amount of white occurs on the crown and back of the neck. Sexes look similar. Young birds tend to have more brownish plumage in comparison to the adults.

Great cormorants use a wide range of habitats, living as well on the coast where they occur in different habitat types including estuaries, saltpans, lagoons, mangrove swamps, deltas and bays, as in inland wetlands including lakes, rivers, swamps etc.

Great cormorants nest in colonies, often together with other species, on rocky shores, cliffs and islets or, in inland habitats, on trees, in reedbeds or bare ground. The nest varies from a depression to a platform of sticks, reeds and seaweed.

The diet of great cormorants consists predominantly of fish as well as crustaceans, amphibians, molluscs and nestling birds. At sea the species preys mostly on bottom-dwelling fish from bare or vegetated seabeds, occasionally also taking shoaling fish in deeper waters.

Did you know?
that the name 'cormorant' is derived from the Latin 'corvus marinus', which means 'sea crow'?


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Phalacrocorax carbo
Name (English) Great Cormorant
Name (French) Grand cormoran
Name (German) Kormoran
Name (Spanish) Cormoráno grande
Local names Italian: Marangone, Cormorano
Rumansh: Cormoran grond
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
BS Thurner Hof



Range Distribution almost worldwide, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Has been recorded in about 140 countries.
Habitat (Preferably rocky) coasts, estuaries and inland wetlands, including streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds.
Wild population The global population is estimated to be in the order of 1,000,000–1,600,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002).
Zoo population 376 reported to ISIS (2008).

In the Zoo

Great 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
Noodle Snacks

Why do zoos keep this animal

The great 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.