Friday, July 22, 2011

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus

The most abundant cormorant in North America, the Double-crested may gather in flocks of up to 2000 individuals. A heavy-set water bird, it sometimes plunge-dives for fish and other prey, but more commonly performs a surface dive and swims about underwater, coming up with its catch in its bill. Unlike most other water birds, cormorants lack waterproof plumage; to dry their feathers, they perch on a rock or piling and spread their wings wide in the sun.

Identification: 30-36". Adult black with bare patch of orange skin
beneath bill; breeding adult has small tufts on each side of crown. Immature brownish, paler on breast. Bill long, straight, with hooked tip in all plumages.

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus Voice: Usually silent; gives grunting calls near nesting colony.

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus Habitat: Lakes, rivers, and seashores.

Range: Breeds along coast from Alaska to ร. California, and inland in Saskatchewan, W. Montana, S. Idaho, and N. Utah. Winters mainly along coast. Also in the East.

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