The Pelagic Cormorant is the smallest and most widely distributed of six cormorant species commonly seen in North America and the four species of cormorant seen in Alaska (we had a look at a Red-faced Cormorant sometime ago).
This is another mis-named bird species. Despite its name, Pelagic Cormorants are in-shore specialists, It feeds primarily on solitary fish and invertebrates on the bottom. It can be difficult in the field to tell a Pelagic from its cousins, the Double-crested, Brandt’s and Red-faced, but with a little practice the smaller size and comparatively small bill are pretty good field marks.
Pelagics have an extensive range; WC has seen them at Tin City, on the tip of the Seward Peninsula, and in Baja California. There are about 50,000 breeding pairs in Alaska, a sizable chunk of the world population. Despite its widespread distribution, the Pelagic Cormorant remains poorly studied; it’s a cliff nester and abandons nests if it is disturbed.
For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.