Pelagic Cormorant

Phalacrocorax pelagicus




Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale blue

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

26 - 37

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On cliff ledge.

Nest Material:

Seaweed, grass, moss, debris and twigs.





Pelagic Cormorant: Small cormorant with glossy black body and bold white patches on flanks. Face and throat pouch are red. Head and neck are held straight in flight, with head appearing no wider than neck. Sexes are similar. Breeding adult has fine white plumes on sides of neck. Winter adult lacks red face and white flank patches. Juvenile resembles winter adult but is duller.

Range and Habitat

Pelagic Cormorant: Resident in much of its range. Breeds along the Pacific Coast of North America from the western Alaska and the Aleutian archipelago south to extreme southern California. Spends winters from southern Alaska south to Baja California. Preferred habitats include offshore and inshore waters.

Breeding and Nesting

Pelagic Cormorant: Three to five pale blue eggs are laid in a nest made of seaweed, feathers, and other debris; nests become large due to re-use year after year. Incubation ranges from 26 to 37 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Pelagic Cormorant: Diet consists of marine fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates; forages by diving from the surface, using its large, webbed feet to swim underwater in search of food.


Pelagic Cormorant: Groans and hisses in breeding colonies.

Similar Species

Pelagic Cormorant: Double-crested and Brandt's Cormorants are larger and lack red facial skin.

The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The lateral area posterior to the side of the bird’s body that extends back to the base of the tail.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X