This is the smaller of the two cormorants (about 30 species worldwide) found round much of coastal Europe. From a distance this is simply a black cormorant but seen close to the bird is fantastic. The black is a really oily and glossy shade with green and purple overtones. There is a little yellow on the base of the bill and gape and the eyes are bright green.
The jaunty forward curled crest is diagnostic. It does not (pace Edward Lear) lay its eggs in a paper bag but in untidy nests in loose colonies low on sea-cliffs. Most are found inshore in coastal waters and they feed by diving from the surface to catch fish. Inland records are not usual but sometimes birds are wrecked along the East Coast of Britain when foggy weather confuses them. Just under 50,000 pairs breed in Britain and Ireland.
Medium-sized coastal cormorant of Europe.
Length 730 mm Closed wing 265 mm Weight 1900 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead