Skip to Content

Cape cormorant

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Award: Birder of the Year (2015)
Posts: 2367
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

Cape cormorant

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:06 am

Though looking like nondescript black birds from afar, at close range the black plumage of a breeding adult Cape cormorant, Phalacrocorax capensis, has an iridescent sheen like with this bird. The eyes of this cormorant are one of the most striking in the bird kingdom with exquisite turquoise coloured irises surrounded by blue beads on the eyelids.

Image

Cape Cormorants are endemic to southern Africa. They are abundant on the west coast but less common on the east coast of southern Africa. Cape Cormorants breed on offshore islands, cliffs, rocks and artificial structures such as jetties, platforms and even moored fishing vessels and yachts. They construct shallow nests using seaweed, sticks and guano, and nest in dense colonies at 'pecking distance' from one another. At Bird Island, Lamberts Bay, special breeding platforms have been erected for cormorants and both the Cape and white-breasted cormorants have made full use of this initiative, often building two nests on one platform.

Image

Image

There was no sign of this little critter earlier in the day... I can only assume that it was under the duvet...

Ringing records show that the Cape cormorant breeds up to 10 years into its life, making its lifespan possibly around 12 – 15 years. In spite of the last estimate of its population size being at 1 000 000, the IUCN classifies it as “Near Threatened” because of ongoing pollution from oil slicks, disturbance to stocks of its prey and pathogen or parasite increases. In a 15-year period the breeding population shrunk from 277 032 pairs to only 72 000 pairs by 1996.

These cormorants generally feed within 10-15 km of the shoreline, preying on Pelagic Goby, Cape Anchovy, Pilchard and Cape Horse Mackerel.
698 Latest lifers: Sooty falcon, American golden plover, Temminck's stint, Red-necked phalarope, Cape long-billed lark, Agulhas long-billed lark, Karoo eremomella

User avatar
arks
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3664
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)

Re: Cape cormorant

Unread post by arks » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:42 pm

Very interesting, JvR, I'd no idea about those amazing blue eyes :shock: (Note to self: must look at cormorants FAR more closely infuture :redface: ) And how nice to have a chickie surprise :wink: :D
RSA 2016
4,5 April Melville
6-19 April KNP: Croc Bridge, Olifants, Shingwedzi, Pafuri Border
20-24 April Mapungubwe: Leokwe
25 April-28 May Darling
29 May-19 June Cape Town
* * *
21 September-21 November Darling


Return to “Birding in Southern Africa”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Webcam Highlights

Addo
Submitted by Tazrules229 at 21:37:02
orpen
Submitted by Ton&Herma at 20:36:27
satara
Submitted by Karin Mitton at 21:22:03
nossob
Submitted by TanniB at 21:27:00