Great Cormorant 2 (BC).jpg


Phalacrocorax carbo


Scart (Northern Ireland)

Status: Resident, some immigration during the winter

Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland due to its localised breeding population. The European population has been evaluated as Secure.

Identification: Large, mainly all dark seabird, often stands with wings out stretched drying. Long body and neck, long strong hooked bill. Dark webbed feet. Swims low in the water with bill raised. Often seen inland, unlike the similar looking Shag, where it breeds in trees. Adult breeding bird is black with a green, bronze and blue gloss to its plumage, yellow and white bare flesh at the base of its lower mandible and a white thigh patch. Cormorant lacks crest, instead having a sloping forehead which gives it a wedge shaped profile. Adult in non-breeding plumage lacks white thigh patch. Juvenile bird has very pale, even white, underparts and dark brown upperparts. Sub-adults have a variable amount of white in the underparts.

Similar Species: Shag.

Call: Deep guteral call when at the colony.

Diet: Fish

Breeding: Breeds in colonies mainly around the coast of Ireland, with some birds breeding inland. Most of the larger coastal colonies in Ireland are on the south and north west coasts with big colonies also in Co. Dublin. Birds on the coast breed on cliffs whilst those inland, in trees.

Wintering: Winters at sea and inland.

Where to See: Not a difficult species to see. Either at sea or on inland lakes and rivers in County Clare and Co. Galway. Look for them roosting on piers or rocks.

Monitored by: Wintering birds are monitored through the Irish Wetland Bird Survey. Breeding seabirds are monitored through surveys carried out every 15-20 years, the last was Seabird 2000, which was undertaken between 1998 & 2002.

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