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Crowned Cormorant - BirdForum Opus

Photo by CollinBax
Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa, February 2007
Microcarbo coronatus

Phalacrocorax coronatus


Length 54 cm, mass 670-880 g; males larger than females.

Breeding adult: Glossy black with white filoplumes on the sides of the head; scapulars and wing-coverts have grey-brown centres. The crest on the forecrown is about 32 cm long and is usually partially erect. The bill is black with a yellow-orange base to the lower mandible; the gape is orange. The eye is red, as is the skin above and in front of the eye.

Non-breeding adult: Paler and browner than when breeding; pare parts duller.

Similar species

Cape Cormorant and Bank Cormorant are larger, have longer bills and shorter tails, and lack the prominent crest. Long-tailed Cormorant is smaller and has a longer tail and shorter legs; its back is more "scaly", and it has a shorter crest.


South-western coast of Africa: Namibia and South Africa.


This species has previously been considered a subspecies of the Long-tailed Cormorant. The Crowned Cormorant has no known subspecies (monotypic[1]).

Formerly placed in genus Phalacrocorax.


Marine coast.


Classified as Near-threatened in the IUCN Red List (BirdLife International, 2007).2



Forages close to shore, usually in water less than 5-m deep, near rocky shores and in kelp beds. Feeds mainly on benthic fish; also crustaceans, molluscs and worms.


Monogamous; breeds in colonies. The nest is a platform of sticks, seaweed, feathers, bones and human debris. One to five eggs are laid at any time of the year and incubated for about 23 days by both adults. Entanglement in fishing line used in the nest structure is a significant cause of chick mortality.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. BirdLife International (2007) Species factsheet: Phalacrocorax coronatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/4/2008.
  3. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533

Recommended Citation

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