Great Cormorant

Great Cormorant

(Phalacrocorax carbo)

Size(80-100cm): It is the largest Cormorant found in India.

Area: Widespread resident over much of India.

Habitat: Lakes, rivers and other water bodies.

My two words: It is the largest of all the Cormorants found in India.

It has a overall glossy-black plumage with a white and yellow throat patch. The Non-Breeding Plumage is completely black with the throat patch. During the breeding time, the bird develops white feathers all over the neck and around the head.

Non-Breeding Plumage

However, Breeding birds are not very common in India, still one may stumble upon one of them while searching some extremely populated (by birds not people) areas or while scanning through a large flock.

Large Flock with Non-Breeding bird on the left, Immature in the middle and Breeding adult on the right in the Trio towards the top. Two Breeding adults towards the bottom of the image and Breeding adults towards the left.

The young birds are similar to the Indian Cormorant but are whiter below.

It is probably the most Bulky and Heavy built Cormorant.

The main constituent of their diet is Fish and these birds can be found along any water body where there is surplus supply of fish.


These Birds are used in countries like China and Japan for Cormorant Fishing, in which the fisherman ties a string around the neck of the bird so that it cannot swallow the large fish it catches. Then he sends his trained cormorants down in the water and when they come up, he retrieves the fish by simply pushing it up the bird’s throat.

Though these activities damages the bird’s own digestive processes still these are widely practiced in some countries across the globe.

Their current IUCN status is ‘Least Concern’.

~Arjun Basandrai

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