New Hampshire PBS
   share this page
Home     About     Watch     Nature Files     Teachers     Order DVD     Contact

Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus

double-crested cormorant
Life Cycle

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Pelecaniformes
 Family: Phalacrocoracidae
 Genus: Phalacrocorax

Double-crested Cormorant
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern
Audio Credit: Mike Nelson cc logo
Double-crested CormorantThe double-crested cormorant is a little more than two feet long with a wingspan of about four feet. It has dark brown to black feathers, a long hooked bill with an orange throat pouch, a long tail, and webbed black feet. Adults have tufts of feathers over their eyes. Males and females look alike.


mapThe double-crested cormorant breeds from the coast of Alaska and Nova Scotia south to Mexico and the Bahamas.

It winters on both coasts north to southern Alaska and southern New England.

Double-crested CormorantThe double-crested cormorant lives in brackish and freshwater habitats on lakes, rivers, swamps, bays and coasts.

Double-crested CormorantThe double-crested cormorant dives for fish and marine invertebrates from the water's surface. After catching a fish, the cormorant surfaces, flips the fish in the air and swallows it head-first.

Double-crested CormorantThe double-crested cormorant nests in colonies. Both the male and female will build a nest of sticks, twigs and seaweed. Nests are built in trees and shrubs and on the ground of rocky cliffs and islands. The female lays three to five eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs for about a month. Both parents also feed and take care of the chicks. The chicks fledge in 35-40 days.

Double-crested CormorantThe double-crested cormorant doesn't have well-developed oil glands and isn't waterproofed very well. It often dries its feathers by perching on a pole or tree limb and stretching its wings out.