Double-crested Cormorant

Phalacrocorax auritus




Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Blue white, nest stained

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

28 - 30

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On rocks near water.

Nest Material:

Sticks and debris lined with leafy twigs and grass.





Double-crested Cormorant: Medium-sized cormorant with iridescent black body and orange throat pouch. Western birds have white feather tufts over each eye in early summer. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is brown with buff upper belly and neck, and scaled or mottled upperparts. Strong, direct flight, known to soar on thermals.

Range and Habitat

Double-crested Cormorant: Breeds locally from southern Alaska, Manitoba, and Newfoundland south throughout much of the U.S. to Mexico and Bahamas. Spends winters mainly on coasts from Alaska to the Baja Peninsula and southern New England to the Yucatan Peninsula. Preferred habitats include lakes, rivers, swamps, and coasts.

Breeding and Nesting

Double-crested Cormorant: Male has an elaborate courtship dance in which he presents the female with material to build a nest or marks out a nesting site. Two pale blue eggs are laid in a nest built of twigs or seaweed. Incubation ranges from 28 to 30 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Double-crested Cormorant: Diet consists mostly of fish, but also eats crustaceans and amphibians. Forages by diving from the surface and swimming underwater to catch prey, propelled by its webbed feet, not wings.


Double-crested Cormorant: Emits deep guttural grunts.

Similar Species

Double-crested Cormorant: Loons lack hooked bills. Neotropical Cormorant is slimmer and longer-tailed, and has a differently shaped gular area. Great Cormorant has a yellow, pointed gular area surrounded with white.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X