Cormorant (Great Cormorant)
Distribution Britain 174 (-20.0%) Ireland 93 (-4.1%)
Numbers breeding: Britain 7,000 Ireland 4,700
European status: 142,000 (8% in Britain and Ireland =4)
British population trend: stabilising? (+18% BBS)
How likely are you to record it? 296 squares (6.6%) Ranked 73 
This large, black, fish-eating bird breeds in rather few colonies: mostly on islands, stacks and cliffs in remote coastal areas. The population, rather static, was severely persecuted by fishermen and most colonies were small (less than 200 pairs). Full protection was afforded in Britain in 1967 and in Ireland in 1976 and they increased markedly in the next ten years Lambay
Island (Dublin) held 1,027 pairs in 1985. At the same time further inland nesting sites in the western half of the country were established. In North-west Scotland there have been recent decreases, a modest increase in Wales and bigger increase in south-west Scotland. Historically a few small colonies were established (and destroyed) inland in East Anglia but the biggest change has been the recent colonisation, by tree nesting birds, of south-east England. Several colonies are now well established notably at Abberton (Essex) and Little Paxton (Cambs). These birds are mainly of the smaller race sinensis whose colonies on the Continent may reach several thousand pairs. Cormorants are still persecuted, mainly illegally, and research is underway to determine whether they are harmful to properly managed fisheries. Current prospects very good unless the legal goal posts are moved.
Smiddy, P. 1998 Irish Birds: 6, 213-216.
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead