Indian Cormorant

Indian Cormorant  Phalacrocorax fuscicollis


  • Phalacrocorax : Latin word phalakros – bald-headed ; korax – raven
  • Fuscicollis : Latin word fuscus – dusky, brown; collis –necked

Vernacular Names : Sind: Wada silli, Hindi: Ghogur, Pan-kowwa, Jal-kowwa, Sans: Maha jalkak, Kash: Neiar, Pun: Wadda jal kan, Ben: Pan-kawri, Ass: Pani kaori, Cachar: Di dao-Kwa, Guj: Kalo jal kagdo, Vachet kajiyo, Mar: Kardhok, Bhartiya Pankawla, Ori: For cormorants – Panikua, Ta: Neer kagam, Te: Bontakaki, Neeti kaki, Mal: Kinnari neerkaka

Distribution in India: Wide spread resident in India

Description: Size of 60-63 cm. It is a small, slim cormorant with longish tail and long, rather thin bill. Breeding adult at start of season has conspicuous white tuft on side of upper neck, strongly contrasting with otherwise black head, neck and rest of body plumage, which are glossed blue-green except on largely bronze-brown mantle, scapulars and upper wing-coverts, each of these feathers noticeably fringed black; in non-breeding condition appears duller, with pattern of mantle to upper wing coverts less contrasting, and may have some white on throat to gape; iris green; bill blackish grey, bare facial skin and gular pouch sooty black to dusky brownish olive, lower ridge of mandible and gular pouch soon become dull yellowish; legs blackish grey. Both sexes are alike.

Habitat: It is found in Freshwater and marine habitats, including lakes, mangrove creeks, rivers, irrigation tanks and tidal estuaries. In Himalayas does not penetrate beyond foothills. Nests in trees, often over water

Food Habits: They eat small freshwater fish; also frogs and tadpoles. They tend to forage mainly in small loose groups and are often seen foraging alone. They swim underwater to capture their prey, mainly fish. They propel themselves underwater using their webbed feet. Captured fishes are often brought up to the surface to swallow them and during this time other birds including other little cormorants, painted storks, gulls and egrets may attempt to steal them. Indian cormorants tend to fish communally in larger groups. Like all other cormorants, they will emerge from water and will hold out their wings and stay immobile for a while. The behaviour has been suggested to be for wing-drying

Breeding Habits: Breading season is very variable, depending on region, local water conditions and monsoon; egg-laying mainly Jul–Feb. Colonial breeding and nesting, often with other cormorants, darters, herons, egrets, storks, ibises and spoonbills. Nest of sticks and stems, sometimes lined with finer material, placed in tree over water. Lays a clutch of 3–6 eggs