Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Double-Crested Cormorants

During our swamp tour of the Cypress Island Preserve (Lake Martin) we saw numerous Double-crested Cormorants resting upon the bare branches of bald cypress trees.  These are the most common Cormorants in North America.  

Double-crested Cormorants are gregarious birds that are almost always near water. Their main two activities are fishing and resting, with more than half their day spent on the latter.  A cormorant’s diet is almost all fish, with just a few insects, crustaceans, or amphibians. They eat a wide variety of fish (more than 250 species have been reported), and they have impressive fishing technique: diving and chasing fish underwater with powerful propulsion from webbed feet.  

Cormorants often stand in the sun with their wings spread out to dry. They have less preen oil than other birds, so their feathers can get soaked rather than shedding water like a duck’s. Though this seems like a problem for a bird that spends its life in water, wet feathers probably make it easier for cormorants to hunt underwater with agility and speed.

Before a cormorant takes off in flight, it tends to stretch its neck in the direction it intends to fly. When it comes in for a landing, a cormorant will puff out the orange skin on its neck and, after touchdown, give a ritual little hop. If one cormorant encroaches on the space of another, such as in competition over a nest site, the cormorants will face off, stretch their necks, and open their mouths wide open to show off the blue color inside while shaking their heads and hissing at each other. To attract a mate for the season, a male cormorant will choose a nest site and then stand with his breast down and bill and tail up, showing off the crests on his head and bright colors of his neck and his eyes, grunting and slightly waving his outstretched wings. When a female arrives, she is greeted by the male opening his mouth into a gape, showing off the blue inside.  Information obtained from Cornell Lab of Ornithology online @ www.allaboutbirds.org.

Linked with Stewart for Wild Bird Wednesday

Thank you for visiting.  Have a great day!


  1. Standing on a pier/dock, it's fun to watch them swim by. Little jets.

  2. Interesting post and super images Susan.

    Our Cormorants are definitely NOT the fisherman's friend due to their extensive appetites!

  3. Handsome birds. I've enjoyed your photos from the swamp tour a lot.

  4. Great photos of these gorgeous birds!

  5. Hi, just come across from Eileen's blog.
    Lovely photo's you've shared, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  6. Great photos and interesting information!