What type of cormorant is this please?


We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).
Identify this

What type of cormorant is this please?

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Pictures taken yesterday in local marina, it was diving and feeding alone. In the nearby bay there was one with a lot less white on it and a 'different' face. Dozens more in the area were all black apart from some white patches on thighs. I enclose pics of the long haired one first and then less white one last. Looked in all my books but can't find the first one, second one apparently adult in breeding plumage. Would appreciate your opinions please,

thanks Ruthie

All Replies
  • Im baffled

  • Hi Ruthie


    Looks like a normal cormorant to me :)

    It has leucism though, which affects the pigmentation of some feathers.

  • Adult Cormorants develop these white 'filoplumes' on the head prior to breeding - they disappear gradually as the breeding season progresses. The amount of white varies - this is a particularly frosty one :)

  • With many more birders now Cormorant-watching, the identification criteria of sinensis (Continental) and carbo (British) Cormorants has become much better known in recent years. A little Primary School Mathematics is all that is required to separate the two subspecies:

    Photograph from Punkbirder





  • Love it. I'll definitely be taking my protractor out on my next trip. I'll have to make sure my calculator has got the tan function as well.


  • An interesting thread and not an i.d.point I have been aware of before,thanks for raising it,we are all learning all the time.

  • Just to add to DOM's post, it used to be thought that a very white head was a sure sign of a sinensis (Continental) Cormorant rather than a British carbo, but that's now been found not to be true. Best evidence is the angle of the gular pouch - parodied by the Punks and explained a bit more seriously here: http://www.paxton-pits.org.uk/id.htm. I think both the birds above are carbo.

  • Thanks for the link Aiki.


    Based on that info the frosty dude, is probably  very mature.


  • Oh. I was going to suggest sinensis, but been beaten to it!

  • "First catch your Phalacrocorax ..."

  • Thanks to everyone for your replies - I can't say that I undrstand the bit about measuring the angles - forgotten all the maths I did at school it was a long time ago and I think I must have been away that day! what exactly are we measuring? I didn't know  that the coastal cormorants breeding season started as early as February. I am so pleased that i can rely on so many knowledgeable people as I am keen to learn and keep finding things which puzzle me.

    thanks all


  • Hi Ruthie,

    If you follow the link in aiki's post, it explains what you're looking for. But it's still pretty difficult.

    The picture and "formula" in DOM's post is rather silly ... I wondered if it was 1st April already!



  • Hi Andy,

    Thanks for that, I am glad you agree as I've been chasing the bird all night with a protractor and it just won't stand still and let me measure it's beak or angle or whatever I am supposed to measure!

    I will just take everyone's word for it.


  • Hi Ruthie,

    Me too! If it needs a perfect profile photograph (or net the bird if you are licensed to do so) to establish the sub-species, then I personally am not that interested. Phalacrocorax carbo will do for me, thanks!





    here's a serious question then :)

    which subspp is this according to the angled theory?




    ps-  I know which it is- indisputably :)