|Copyright: jim stevens (jimbob)
|Date Taken: 2006-01-14|
|Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS|
|Exposure: f/4, 1/1000 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2006-02-21 17:40|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Cormorant or Shag|
Cormorants and shags are medium-to-large seabirds. The majority, including all Northern Hemisphere species, have mainly dark plumage , but some Southern Hemisphere species are black and white, and a few (e.g. the Spotted Shag of NZ) are quite colourful. Many species have areas of coloured skin on the face (the lores and the gular skin ) which can be bright blue, orange, red or yellow, typically becoming more brightly coloured in the breeding season. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed, a distinguishing feature among the Pelicanformes order.
They are coastal rather than oceanic birds, and some have colonised inland waters. They range around the world, except for the central Pacific Islands.
All are Fish-eaters, dining on small eels fish, and even water snakes. They dive from the surface, though many species make a characteristic half-jump as they dive, presumably to give themselves a more streamlined entry into the water. Under water they propel themselves with their feet.
After fishing, cormorants go ashore to dry their wings by holding them out in the sun. Unusually for a water bird, their feathers are not waterproofed. This may help them dive quickly, since their feathers do not retain air bubbles.
Cormorants are colonial nesters, using trees, rocky islets, or cliffs. The eggs are a chalky-blue colour. There is usually one brood a year. The young are fed through regurgitation.
(Thanks to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant)
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