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Great cormorant

Great cormorant
Photo Information
Copyright: Akshay Harith (S_Akshay) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 31 W: 14 N: 130] (729)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon DSLR D200, Sigma APO 100-300 f/4 EX IF HSM
Exposure: f/8, 1/125 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Karanji Lake
Date Submitted: 2008-03-04 8:41
Viewed: 3759
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Pelecaniformes

Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Genus: Phalacrocorax

Species: P. carbo

The Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), known as the Great Black Cormorant across the Northern Hemisphere, the Black Cormorant in Australia and the Black Shag further south in New Zealand, is a widespread member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It breeds in much of the Old World and the Atlantic coast of North America.

The Great Cormorant is a large black bird, 77-94 cm in length with a 121-149 cm wingspan. It has a longish tail and yellow throat-patch. Adults have white thigh patches in the breeding season. In European waters it can be distinguished from the Common Shag by its larger size, heavier build, thicker bill, lack of a crest and plumage without any green tinge.

In eastern North America, it is similarly larger and bulkier than Double-crested Cormorant, and the latter species has more yellow on the throat and bill

This is a very common and widespread bird species. It feeds on the sea, in estuaries, and on freshwater lakes and rivers. Northern birds migrate south and winter along any coast that is well-supplied with fish.

The type subspecies, P. c. carbo, is found mainly in Atlantic waters and nearby inland areas: on western European coasts and south to North Africa, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland; and on the eastern seaboard of North America, though in America it breeds only in the north of its range, in the Canadian maritime provinces.
The subspecies found in Australasian waters, P. carbo novaehollandiae, has a crest. In New Zealand it is known as the Black Shag or by its Māori name; Kawau

The 80-100 cm long White-breasted Cormorant P. c. lucidus found in sub-Saharan Africa, has a white neck and breast. It is often treated as a full species, Phalacrocorax lucidus (e.g. Sibley & Monroe, 1990, Sinclair, Hockey and Tarboton, 2002)

In addition to the Australasian and African forms, Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae and P. carbo lucidus mentioned above, other geographically distinct subspecies are recognised, including P. c. sinensis (western Europe to east Asia), P. c. maroccanus (north-western Africa), and P. c. hannedae (Japan).

Some authors treat all these as allospecies of a P. carbo superspecies group

The Great Cormorant breeds mainly on coasts, nesting on cliffs or in trees (which are eventually killed by the droppings), but also increasingly inland. 3-4 eggs are laid in a nest of seaweed or twigs.

The Great Cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but often feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. A wide variety of fish are taken: cormorants are often noticed eating eels, but this may reflect the considerable time taken to subdue an eel and position it for swallowing, rather than any dominance of eels in the diet. In UK waters, dive times of 20-30 seconds are common, with a recovery time on the surface around a third of dive time.

The Great Cormorant is one of the few birds which can move its eyes, which assists in hunting

Many fishermen see in the Great Cormorant a competitor for fish. Because of this it was nearly hunted to extinction in the past. Thanks to conservation efforts its numbers increased. At the moment there are about 450,000 breeding birds in Western Europe. Increasing populations have once again brought the cormorant into conflict with fisheries, for example, in the UK where inland breeding was once uncommon, there are now increasing numbers of birds breeding inland and many inland fish farms and fisheries now claim to be suffering high losses due to these birds. In the UK each year some licences are issued to shoot specified numbers of cormorants in order to help reduce predation, it is however still illegal to kill a bird without such a licence.

Chinese fishermen sometimes tie fishing line around the throats of cormorants, tight enough to prevent swallowing, and deploy them from small boats. The cormorants "eat" fish without being able to fully swallow them, and the fishermen are able to retrieve the fish simply by forcing open the cormorants' mouths, apparently engaging the regurgitation reflex

hello every TN members,

this picture of a great cormorant was shot at the KARANJI Lake in mysore.This lake is next to the Sri Jayachamarajendra zoological gardens which is also called as the Mysore Zoo.This was shot aroud 9:30 in the morning using Sigma 1.4X TC.

I hope all the people who'll view the picture will give their comments/critiques.Thank you.


Arjun, JPlumb, darwin, ramthakur, smitha, oscarromulus has marked this note useful
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Nice photo, with great detail on the wing of te bird and the light in the eye it gives a nice effect.TFS!

Hi Akshay, very nice shot of this Great Cormorant. I've only seen one of these birds, hopefully I'll see another and get a shot as good as this. The pose of the bird is very good, sitting on the log, with lots of room to look forward. The colour and detail is very good in this shot, especially that eye.


Hi Akshay
Very good capture of this Cormorant in his natural environment
Fine detail in feathers
Nice catchlite in eye
tfs jon

Bravo, Akshay, you are back on your feet again!!
You have shot a great image of a Cormorant with D200 which I too use, but not as well as you do!
The eye of the bird is so well captured I'm literally drooling over it :-)!
In addition to that, the entire image of this elegant bird is a perfect example of excellent nature photography.
Keep shooting again, preferably all by yourself, if you don't mind my suggestion.

hello akshay,
i was going through the Jan issue of Better Photography and saw your macro shot there, It won you an award, i felt so happy and proud of you, you did an excellent work.
this is a fine post, i liked the pose, pov and the composition, good details of the plumage,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hello Akshay,
How did you mange to get so close to this bird? :)
It's a beautiful shot.Lovely composition. Excellent sharpness &details . Liked the POV very much.
Thanks for the share,

Hello Akshay,
You got a great portfolio. I like to hit the "next" button;-)
Well done

GREAT image.
Excellent clarity. Love the details that come forward within this imagery.
Thanks for sharing.
Mario from Canada with warm regards.

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