Cormorants

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Grebes are small to medium-large in size, have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, although they can run for a short distance, they are prone to falling over, since they have their feet placed far back on the body.

Grebes have narrow wings, and some species are reluctant to fly. They respond to danger by diving rather than flying, and are in any case much less wary than ducks.  Bills vary from short and thick to long and pointed, depending on the diet, which ranges from fish to freshwater insects and crustaceans. The feet are always large, with broad lobes on the toes and small webs connecting the front three toes.

Grebes make floating nests of plant material concealed among reeds on the surface of the water. The young are precocial, and able to swim from birth.

Cormorants are medium-to-large seabirds. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes, as in their relatives.

They are coastal rather than oceanic birds, and some have colonised inland waters. All are fish-eaters, dining on small eels, fish, and even water snakes. They dive from the surface, though many species make a characteristic half-jump as they dive, presumably to give themselves a more streamlined entry into the water. Under water they propel themselves with their feet.

Cormorants are colonial nesters, using trees, rocky islets, or cliffs. The eggs are a chalky-blue colour.

Records

Anhinga

Total Photos: 0

Double-crested Cormorant

Total Photos: 5

The Double-crested Cormorant is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It occurs along inland waterways as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico. Measuring 90 cm in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin.

The Double-crested Cormorant is found near rivers, lakes and along the coastline. It mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving. Its feathers, like those of all cormorants, are not waterproof and it must spend time drying them out after spending time in the water.

Great Cormorant

Total Photos: 3

The Great Cormorant is a widespread member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It is a large black bird. Weight is 4 kg and length 100 cm with wingspan around 150 cm. It has a longish tail and yellow throat-patch. Adults have white thigh patches in the breeding season.

The Great Cormorant breeds mainly on coasts, nesting on cliffs OR in trees. The Great Cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but often feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. A wide variety of fish are taken. Cormorants are often noticed eating eels, but this may reflect the considerable time taken to subdue an eel and position it for swallowing.

Indian Cormorant

Total Photos: 2

The Indian cormorant or Indian shag (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis) is a member of the cormorant family. It is found mainly along the inland waters of the Indian Subcontinent. It is a gregarious species that can be easily distinguished from the similar sized little cormorant by its blue eye, small head with a sloping forehead and a long narrow bill ending in a hooked tip.

Little Cormorant

Total Photos: 4

The Little Cormorant is a black duck-like water bird with longish stiff tail, slender, compressed bill, sharply hooked at tip. A small white patch on the throat. Seen in singles or flocks at water-bodies or perching upright on rock or trees near water-bodies. Food : Exclusively fish.

Neotropic Cormorant

Total Photos: 1

The Neotropic Cormorant is a medium-sized cormorant found throughout the American tropics and subtropics, from the middle Rio Grande and the Gulf and Californian coasts of the USA south through Mexico and Central America to southern South America. It also breeds on the Bahamas, Cuba and Trinidad. It can be found both at coasts, including some mangrove areas and on inland waters.

This bird is 64 cm long with a 100 cm wingspan. Adults males weigh 2 kg, adult females 100 grams less. Birds of the southern populations tend to be bigger than the more northerly birds. It is small and slender, especially compared to the larger, heavier-looking Double-crested Cormorant. It has a long tail and frequently holds its neck in an S-shape. Adult plumage is mainly black, with a yellow-brown throat patch. During breeding, white tufts appear on the sides of the head, there are scattered white filoplumes on the side of the head and the neck, and the throat patch develops a white edge. The upper wings are somewhat greyer than the rest of the body. Juveniles are brownish in color.

Oriental Darter

Total Photos: 4

It has a long and slender neck with a straight, pointed bill and, like the cormorant, it hunts for fish while its body submerged is in water. It spears a fish underwater, bringing it above the surface, tossing and juggling it before swallowing the fish head first. The body remains submerged as it swims, and the slender neck alone is visible above the water, which accounts for the colloquial name of snakebird. Like the cormorants, it has wettable feathers and it is often found perched on a rock or branch with its wings held open to dry.

The adult plumage above is black and the wing coverts and tertials having silvery streaks along the shaft. The crown and neck are brown shading to black towards the back of the neck. The underparts are blackish brown. A pale line over the eye and throat and a line running along the sides of the neck gives it a striped appearance. The iris is white with a yellow ring (brighter yellow in breeding birds) around it. The tip of the upper mandible is dark while the base is pale brown bill while the lower mandible is yellowish. The legs and webbing on the foot are yellow in immatures and non-breeding birds while breeding birds have darker grey tarsi and toes with yellow webbing. The sexes are not easily distinguishable but males tend to have black speckles that coalesce on the white throat. Adult females have a shorter bill and tend to have the black at the base of neck and chest separated from the hind neck by a wide buff band that ends at the shoulder.