Overview

Comprehensive Description

Black Cormorant is a small, slim, totally black cormorant with a greenish sheen to the back and a slender grey hooked bill. In the breeding season, adults have fine white flecks on the head and neck and the green tinge becomes more bronze. Non-breading adult could be duller, lack philoplumages and white nuptial feathering. This species congregates in larger flocks than other cormorants and flies in V-shaped formations.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Distribution

Indonesia to New Zealand
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Range

Australasian region to Malay Archipelago.

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Distribution:


    Indonesia E to New Guinea, Australia, Tasmania and N New Zealand.


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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Physical Description

Size

55-65 cm, 520-1210 g, wingspan 95-105 cm.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Diagnostic Description

Black Cormorant is a small, slim, totally black cormorant with a greenish sheen to the back and a slender grey hooked bill. In the breeding season, adults have fine white flecks on the head and neck and the green tinge becomes more bronze. Non-breading adult could be duller, lack philoplumages and white nuptial feathering. This species congregates in larger flocks than other cormorants and flies in V-shaped formations.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Type Information

Type for Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
Catalog Number: USNM A15684
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): Collector Unknown
Locality: Manua (Manawaora) Bay, Bay of Islands, Bay Of Islands, North Island, New Zealand, Australia
  • Type: Peale. 1848. U.S. Exploring Expedition. 8 (mamm. and orn.): 269, pl. lxxii.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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It is mainly found in freshwater wetlands, but will sometimes be found on sheltered coastal waters, and can use relatively small, deep water bodies. It is strongly aquatic, seldom being seen on dry land, but is often seen resting on rocks, jetties and other perches in water.

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Trophic Strategy

Feeds on fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects. It catches prey underwater, by diving and swimming using its large, fully webbed feet for propulsion. It has special nictitating membranes that cover and protect the eyes underwater. As their feathers are not waterproof, cormorants are regularly seen perched with their wings outstretched to dry after fishing.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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Reproduction

All year round, depending on water conditions and food availability. Apr-Aug in N Australia. Normally forms small colonies.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Phalacrocorax sulcirostris

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened.

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Population

Population Trend
Unknown
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Wikipedia

Little black cormorant

The little black cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It is common in smaller rivers and lakes throughout most areas of Australia and northern New Zealand, where it is known as the little black shag. It is around sixty centimetres long, and is all black with blue-green eyes.

Taxonomy[edit]

The little black cormorant was originally described by Johann Friedrich von Brandt in 1837. Its specific epithet is derived from the Latin words sulcus "groove", and rostrum "bill". The common name in New Zealand is the little black shag.[2]

Description[edit]

The little black cormorant is a small cormorant measuring 60–65 cm (23.5–25.5 in) with all black plumage. The back has a greenish sheen.[3] In breeding season, white feathers appear irregularly about the head and neck, with a whitish eyebrow evident. The plumage is a more fade brown afterwards.[4] Males and females are identical in plumage. The long slender bill is grey,[2] and legs and feet black. The iris of the adult is green and the juvenile brown. Immature birds have brown and black plumage.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The little black cormorant ranges from the Malay Peninsula through Indonesia (but excluding Sumatra) and New Guinea (including the D'Entrecasteaux Islands) and throughout Australia.[5] It is found in New Zealand's North Island.[2] It is a predominantly freshwater species, found in bodies of water inland and occasionally sheltered coastal areas. It is almost always encountered in or near water.[3]

Feeding[edit]

The little black cormorant feeds mainly on fish, and eats a higher proportion of fish than the frequently co-occurring little pied cormorant, which eats more decapods. A field study at two storage lakes, Lake Cargelligo and Lake Brewster, in south-western New South Wales found that the introduced common carp made up over half of its food intake.[6]

Behaviour[edit]

More gregarious than other cormorants, the little black cormorant can be found in large flocks. Groups sometimes fly in V formations.[3]

Breeding[edit]

Breeding occurs once a year in spring or autumn in southern Australia, and before or after the monsoon in tropical regions. The nest is a small platform built of dried branches and sticks in the forks of trees that are standing in water. Nests are often located near other waterbirds such as other cormorants, herons, ibis, or spoonbills. Three to five (rarely six or seven) pale blue oval eggs measuring 48 x 32 mm are laid. The eggs are covered with a thin layer of lime, giving them a matte white coated appearance. They become increasingly stained with faeces, as does the nest, over the duration of the breeding season.[7]

Various views and plumages[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Phalacrocorax sulcirostris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Falla, Robert Alexander; Sibson, Richard Broadley; Turbott, Evan Graham (1972) [1966]. The New Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Collins. p. 67. ISBN 0-00-212022-4. 
  3. ^ a b c "Little Black Cormorant". Australian Museum - Birds in Backyards. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Slater, Peter (1970). A Field Guide to Australian Birds:Non-passerines. Adelaide: Rigby. pp. 207–08. ISBN 0-85179-102-6. 
  5. ^ Sibley, Charles Gald; Monroe, Burt Leavelle (1990). Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press. p. 300. ISBN 0300049692. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Miller, B. (1979). "Ecology of the Little Black Cormorant, Phalacrocorax sulcirostris, and Little Pied Cormorant, P. Melanoleucos, in Inland New South Wales I. Food and Feeding Habits". Wildlife Research 6: 79–95. doi:10.1071/WR9790079.  edit
  7. ^ Beruldsen, Gordon (2003). Australian Birds: Their Nests and Eggs. Kenmore Hills, Qld: self. p. 191. ISBN 0-646-42798-9. 
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