Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 46 - Some Australian Cormorants

Along with gulls and pigeons, cormorants may be one of the most obvious birds that many non-birders see.  I think that there may be three reasons for this.  Their black and white or all black plumage makes them very distinctive.  They also tendency to loaf about on piers, jetties and rocks in a generally obvious and photogenic fashions.  And last, and no means least, they are sometimes called shags - and the less said about the better!

We have five cormorant species in Australia (and the Darter as well).  So, here is a whistle stop tour of four for these species.

There are three black and white species, and two all black ones.

The birds I see the most is the Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) - which, as would be expected,  is small and black and white.  The length and colour of its beak and a long white eyebrow stripe are the key ID features here.
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant
Slight larger (and much less widespread) is the Black-Faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscescens).  I don't see this bird very often - which may be due to me not "working through" all the cormorants I see sat on boats and jetties.  Here the key field mark in the adult is the black crown that extends all the way down to the eye, given the bird a black face!

Black-Faced Cormorant
Black-Faced Cormorants
It came as something of a surprise to me that I had no decent images of either Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax various) or Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).  This is about the best I can do for the Great Cormorant, which I have just realised is the same species as the "Cormorant" in the UK.

Black-Faced and Great Cormorant (with Pacific and Silver Gull)
In keeping with their rather sensible names, the Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) is both all black and small.   Thats generally enough to be able to identify this species - but it does not pay to get over confident!

Little Black Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant

Although its not really all that clear the second of the LBC's is "panting" - passing air over the inside of its mouth to evaporate liquids and cool down.  Its the equivalent of sweating in mammals.

And here endeth this brief and incomplete tour of Australian cormorants!  And its over to you.

To participate in WBW, just click on the link below and off you go.  Don't forget to invite any new bloggers who may post bird images.  


54 comments:

Rajesh said...

Wonderful variety of birds.

TexWisGirl said...

fine looking birds! i really like the black and white varieties.

Mama Zen said...

Marvelous tour, Stewart!

Ken Schneider said...

We don't have such a wide choice of cormorant species, at least in this inland Florida location. Your species are each quite distinctively marked to make it easier to tell them apart at a distance.

HansHB said...

Wonderful serie of photos!
Love your tour!

Liz said...

I absolutely love Cormorants!! I see a lot of Little Pied Cormorants, Pied Cormorants & Little Black Cormorants up here but I have never seen a Black-faced Cormorant!
Darters abound up here too!!

Wonderful shots, Stewart! I hope to see more one day!

Andrea said...

Oh my goodness ... they are just like our Cormorants except with white. I love it. Even your Black version is different than ours. Isn't nature just wonderful ... every species specific to it's location. I am still saving my pennies ... I will make it to Australia yet. Wonderful pictures, Stewart.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Gary said...

Great sequence!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Brian King said...

The first one is a little fella! Hence, the name, I suppose. Both of the first two species look like half an Oreo! Love the black and white coloration!

NatureFootstep said...

wow, you have taht many cormorants? We have only one. I like the Black-Faced Cormorant, so very elegant it looks. :)

Thanks for hosting. :)

i stora drag said...

How sweet the first little one was!
I think they look elegant those black-and-whites. We don't have them in Sweden, just the black one.
Just wonder if you know, because I have heard that the removals from the cormorants is so strong so it eats away leaves on their favourite trees and then the trees also die. Sometimes they aren't so popular on small islands in the sea, because everything green dies there.
Greetings Pia

EG CameraGirl said...

Even though I wouldn't call them handsome birds, I think they are better looking than our double-crested cormorants. :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I'd recognize even the ones we don't have as cormorants though -- all have that same very distinctive 'cormorantishness'. We're supposed to have a couple of varieties I think..double-crested and um, not. I can't tell them apart. Also we have the anhinga which is similar, but I can tell it.

pattisjarrett said...

The black and white are so pretty! Thanks for sharing your bounty of cormorants with us.

Nora at Island Rambles said...

I like your cormorants, the little black one has wonderful eyes.
We have an island where our cormorants all nest nearby here.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

LOVE the pied cormorants!!!

Kusum Sanu said...

Wow! That is a great cormorant series! Good to see some AUS species!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Wonderful wonderful photos!

CabinGirl said...

oooh, I love the Little Pied one. What a cute bird.

Noticed that some of their eyes are turquoise. Is it the same for your birds, that their eyes turn that color only during breeding season? Such a unique coloration...

(here's a blog post from work on the breeding coloration and feathering of a Double-crested: http://www.wrcmn.org/pulse/archives/1113)

Adam Tilt said...

Great photos and tour of your Cormorants. Makes our solitary species look a bit inadequate!

eileeninmd said...

The Little Pied Cormorant is cute. Great post on the different cormorants. Your photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing and for hosting WBW!

Carole M. said...

you made me smile Stewart; moving along then --- you got some wonderful pics of the beautiful cormorants, they are so photoenic

DIMI said...

Wonderful pictures and shots Stewart!I like the cormorant bird!Hope you have a lovely week!
Dimi..

Gordon said...

A teriffic set of pics Stewart, the Cormorants are very strikeing.
All the best Gordon.

Karen said...

THey are all so handsome! I have only seen black ones here.

Barbara/myth maker said...

Looks somewhat like our seagulls, but I've never seen a Cormorant. Rare (if not non-existent) in these parts.
Cool shots.

mick said...

I nice description of all the Cormorants. We most commonly see the Little Black C, Little Pied C., and the Pied C. up this way.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

There's not going to be a quiz later this week is there? I hope not.

prairiebirder said...

I love the photos of Little Pied Cormorant!

Marie said...

They are all beautiful cousins. I think I like the Small Pied the best. Thanks for your awesome meme...joining in again after quite a few weeks away. Just don't get many bird shots.

Timur said...

Wonderful photos...amazing !!

Pieni Lintu said...

Great photos!

Digi-Irma said...

Great photos of this Cormorants.
The cormorant with white feathers, does not exist in the Netherlands.
Regards, Irma

Martha Kasper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martha Kasper said...

The cormorants I am familiar with in FL sit with their wings spread to dry , I always found it amusing. Do others do this as well? I never knew there were so many types!

My WBW

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Just discovered your blog and although I have not had time yet to see it all, I am excited because I have a daughter in Australia and I love going over there to see the birds and to photograph them, however it is not all the time. So now I will be able to see more birds through your blog.that i have joined. Thanks. Margaret

Kristi Bowman said...

Very cool birds and you have some beauties down under!!

Sharon Wagner said...

Birds that laze about are my favorite ones to photograph. Ha!

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Lovely post Stewart, my fav is the Black faced Cormorants - simple contrast works well on this species.

Faye said...

Hmmmm. Suppose every species has its shag? :-) Going with that thought, since I'm rather new to this birding interest, am getting a little bored with all the robins in my suburban neighborhood.

At least there is enough variety in the cormorants to keep you interested.

Jennifer said...

This is my first time to participate in WBW...so excited to be here and to see other's shares! Really enjoyed the cormorant photos!

Small City Scenes said...

So many different birds in this old world of ours. We have 3 different types of Cormorants here but none with the white. Very good shots. thanks. MB

DeniseinVA said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post Stewart, great photos!

edenhills said...

I don't think I've ever seen a cormorant. Very interesting!

Thanks for hosting each week!

Carletta said...

Love that green eye!
Thanks for the tour Stewart!

Misty DawnS said...

Those are fantastic photos!

bailey-road.com said...

Nice overview, Stewart!

Shirley said...

Oh My!!! what beautiful looking wild life. You need to do a book..

Jen said...

I've added the neotropic cormorant in my post. Who knew there were so many? Yours look a bit different than mine.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful birds. Thanks for hosting!

Arija said...

Thank you for pointing out the difference between the Little Pied Cormorant and the Black-Faced Cormorant.
Sometimes it is hard to see these differences in bird books.

Chris Rohrer said...

Oooo....these are exotic!!! Love them:) In Tucson, we find only 2 Cormorants. It's fun to see the different varieties out there.

Pat Tillett said...

I've never heard of those little guys before. Nice photos Stewart.