09 May, 2011

Pelagic Cormorant

Scientific Name: Phalacrocorax pelagicus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: A seabird of the northern Pacific. Found in maritime habitats off California (USA) in the east, round Canada, Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Russia to the southern tip of Japan. Also found north of the Bering Sea. It's name is misleading, since it prefers inshore areas to open ocean.

Field Notes: Small, slender cormorant with thin / long neck and bill. All black with glossy green sheen. Subtle red patch on gape. Breeding adults have large white flank patch (not shown here). Double-crested Cormorant is larger, with a thicker bill, and conspicuous pale / orange facial skin and blue eye. Brandt's Cormorant larger with heavier bill, buffy throat patch, and thicker neck.

Personal Notes: Seen off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island near the Campbell River. I love my Matee for slopping through the low tide muck to get these photos and rescue the day!

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