Little Pied Cormorant

The white post at the end of the jetty is marked in feet and inches, so for once it is possible to get a rough indication of the size of these birds.

Over the Summer months, we often have Cormorants fishing in our dam – this week it has been the Little Pied Cormorant.  Previously, I’ve photographed a Darter, and a  Great Cormorant, but for some reason, the Little Pied Cormorant has not been added to my A – Z Species list  even though I am sure I have posted photographs of them previously. This seems like a great time to tell you a little bit about them.

Usually we have a solitary Little Pied Cormorant fishing, but this week we have had a pair of them.  According to my field guide, Little Pied Cormorants are found in most areas of Australia (with the exception of some arid regions in Central and Western Australia)  and they can breed any time from Spring through the end of Summer.  I’m not sure if these two are courting or not – I’ve only witnessed them fishing and drying their wings.

After fishing, the bank of the dam is a good place to dry off wet wings.

If they are nesting, their nest will most likely be in a tree, but could be on the ground.  I hope for their safety they choose a tree as there are too many predators at ground level.

Little Pied Cormorants grow somewhere between 58cm and 64cm and have a yellow sided beak. This is one of the distinguishing features that can be used to separate it from the similar looking Pied Cormorant.  The larger Pied Cormorant grows from 66cm to 80cm, have a horn coloured bill, with black and yellow face markings.

Some days, the Cormorants seem to sit on the jetty for hours, just enjoying the sun and having a rest.

I enjoy the agility and focus of the Little Pied Cormorants as they fish. They really enjoy the water, roving over the entire surface area of the dam so quickly as they swim and dive for food. However, they are quite shy.  If they see me walking around they fly away.  To get these photos, I walked away from the dam and zigzagged back and forth behind a clump of trees.  The birds probably knew I was there, but I didn’t chance going any closer.

When flying, the Little Pied Cormorants are very streamlined.



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