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Pygmy Cormorant - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Rob
The Netherlands, March 2002
Microcarbo pygmaeus

Phalacrocorax pygmeus


Photo © by DaveT
Lake Skadar, Montenegro, October 2018

45-55 cm (17¾-6 in)

  • Black overall plumage
  • Long tail
  • Short thick bill

Breeding adult

  • Short erectile crest on forehead
  • Small white feather tufts on the head, neck and underparts in the breeding season
  • Non-breeding birds have a white throat
  • The sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller and browner.

Similar Species

This species is distinguished from the Great Cormorant and the Common Shag by its much smaller size, lighter build, and long tail.


Inland lakes and rivers of south-eastern Europe to central Asia.


Formerly placed in genus Phalacrocorax.

This is a monotypic species[1].


Photo © by Florin Chirila
Dragasani, Romania, February 2010

Wetlands with still or slowly flowing fresh water in coastal deltas and well-vegetated freshwater lakes.


They are classed as endangered due to the drainage of wetlands and loss of woodlands; water pollution, disturbance, illegal hunting and drowning in nets.



Their nest is constructed from grass and twigs, placed in a low tree or reedbed. The clutch contains 3-6 eggs which both parents incubate for 27-30 days. The young become independent after 70 days.


The diet consists mostly of fish, particularly rudd.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Beauty of Birds
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2018)

Recommended Citation

External Links

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