Great Cormorant

Phalacrocoras carbo  in हिंदी
Scientific Name:  Phalacrocoras carbo

Name:  Great Cormorant

    Local Names:
  • Assamese     দৈকলা
  • French     Grand Cormoran
  • Gujarati     જળ કાગડો, મોટો કાજિયો
  • Malayalam     വലിയ നീർക്കാക്ക
  • Marathi     मोठा पाणकावळा
  • Punjabi     ਵੱਡਾ ਜਲ ਕਾਂ
  • Sanskrit     महा जलकाक
  • Tamil     பெரிய நீர்க்காகம்
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The great cormorant is a large black bird, but there is a wide variation in size in the species' wide range. Weight is reported to vary from 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) to 5.3 kg (12 lb). Males are typically larger and heavier than females, with the nominate race (P. c. carbo) averaging about 10% larger in linear measurements than the smallest race in Europe (P. c. sinensis). The lightest average weights cited are in Germany (P. c. sinensis), where 36 males averaged 2.28 kg (5.0 lb) and 17 females averaged 1.94 kg (4.3 lb). The highest come from Prince Edward Island in Canada (P. c. carbo), where 11 males averaged 3.68 kg (8.1 lb) and 11 females averaged 2.94 kg (6.5 lb). Length can vary from 70 to 102 cm (28 to 40 in) and wingspan from 121 to 160 cm (48 to 63 in). They are tied as the second largest extant species of cormorant after the flightless cormorant, with the Japanese cormorant averaging at a similar size. In bulk if not in linear dimensions, the Blue-eyed shag species complex of the Southern Oceans are scarcely smaller at average. It has a longish tail and yellow throat-patch. Adults have white patches on the thighs and on the throat in the breeding season. In European waters it can be distinguished from the common shag by its larger size, heavier build, thicker bill, lack of a crest and plumage without any green tinge. In eastern North America, it is similarly larger and bulkier than double-crested cormorant, and the latter species has more yellow on the throat and bill and lack the white thigh patches frequently seen on great cormorants. Great cormorants are mostly silent, but they make various guttural noises at their breeding colonies.

Size in cm:

80-100 cm

Size in Inch

31-0 Inch

Primary color:


Secondary color:

gray   (Bird may have more colors)


Great Cormorant feeds mainly on numerous kinds of fishes, but when fishing in freshwater, it also consumes crustaceans, amphibians and insects.

Habit and habited:

Flies and swims like a tyopical cormorant, see little. Usually found singly or in small groups, although sometimes joins fishing flocks of other cormorants, Gather in large numbers to breed, and often roosts communally in winter. Coastal waters, saltpans, reservoirs, lakes, and large inland lakes and rivers.


Great Cormorant utters guttural croaking at nest and roost. It is rather silent when away from the colony.

Bird Type:


The Great Cormorant is a widespread member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It is a large black bird. Weight is 4 kg and length 100 cm with wingspan around 150 cm. It has a longish tail and yellow throat-patch. Adults have white thigh patches in the breeding season. The Great Cormorant breeds mainly on coasts, nesting on cliffs OR in trees. The Great Cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but often feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. A wide variety of fish are taken. Cormorants are often noticed eating eels, but this may reflect the considerable time taken to subdue an eel and position it for swallowing.

Distribution Map

  •     Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
  •     Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
  •     Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
  •     Winter visitor
  •     Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
  •     known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
  •     Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
  •     Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
  •  colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season

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