Fun Pelagic Cormorant Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
May 02, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Pelagic Cormorant facts about a slender, Northern-Pacific coast species of water birds.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

Have you ever thought of learning perseverance from a seabird? Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus), known for its tenacity, dives deep underwater, sometimes down 55 m, and won't come out until it gets its prey.

These North Pacific coast bird species are also called Baird's Cormorants and Pelagic shag. They are also called Violet-green Cormorants due to their violet breeding plumage.

Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) are majorly seen on the coastlines of the Northern Pacific coast. As the name suggests, Pelagic Cormorants live in open ocean areas in winter. They can be uniquely identified by spreading their wings on a branch to dry them after a swim. They are excellent divers and are very skillful in water and flight.

Read exhilarating facts about this pheasant pigeon for all, and we have a lot of excellent and informative content posted here with our secretary bird facts and blue-and-yellow macaw facts.

Pelagic Cormorant Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Pelagic Cormorant?

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) is a big bird among seabirds, but a relatively small Cormorant bird. They are seen in North America (from the south to northern Baja Pacific offshore Islands in Mexico to the South Alaska of the United States) and East Asia.

A good population of these North American species is found in the central and southern California range.

Pelagic Cormorants have thin necks, white patches on their sides, and short wings supporting their effective swim to grab their food underwater. However, due to this, they may need to overwork in flight.

They build their nesting sites near cliffs, which would be made of plant matter and feces.

What class of animal does a Pelagic Cormorant belong to?

Pelagic Cormorant, a tenacious bird from the cormorant family, belongs to the class of Aves.

How many Pelagic Cormorants are there in the world?

From the study done by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) resource, it is reported that there are about 400,000 birds worldwide, and one-third population is habituated in North America itself.

In addition, breeding pairs of about 100 and individuals in the range of 50-1000 are recorded in China. Breeding pairs in the range of about 10000-100000 and individuals in the 1000-10000 range are existent in Japan. Similarly, they are seen in Korea and Russia as well.

Where does a Pelagic Cormorant live?

Pelagic Cormorant lives in North America and East Asia. Their habitat range starts from the south to northern Baja Pacific offshore Islands in Mexico to the South Alaska of the United States in North America.

However, a good portion of the population is seen in central and southern California. China, Russia, Korea, and Japan are the Asian countries where these notable species are seen in a good population.

What is a Pelagic Cormorant's habitat?

Pelagic Cormorant lives in narrow ledges of the cliff face, rock-strewn offshore islands, and beaches on the Pacific coast.

Who does Pelagic Cormorant live with?

Pelagic Cormorant (Baird's cormorant) builds a nest siteon coastal cliffs and prefers to live alone on most occasions, especially during feeding sessions. However, at times, Pelagic Cormorants are gregarious, forming colonies and staying in rocky areas near water zones. Their colonies near cliffs will generally be smaller in size, in the range of two to three nests.

How long does a Pelagic Cormorant live?

Pelagic Cormorant (Baird's cormorant) lives for about 18 years. British Columbia recorded that the oldest Pelagic cormorant lived for 17 years and ten months.

How do they reproduce?

This North Pacific Cormorant species, who seldom stay in giant colonies near cliffs, mature and become ready for reproduction status when they reach two years of age. Breeding adults can perform mating till 18 years approximately.

They build nesting sites consisting of delicate plants and their feces. They typically build their nesting sites on the narrow ledges of the cliff face, and nesting activities would happen from May to June. They churn out one clutch in a season, producing two to seven eggs that would be bluish-white.

Males will exhibit extensive display behaviors to attract females toward them. For example, stretching the throat skin, bending the neck, jumping, raising the folded wings, and frequent yawning are significant courtship displays that males perform.

Both parents take care of the incubation in their nest sites. Then, both parents hatch the eggs for about three to five weeks (most of the time, it would be 31-34 days) and this depends on the environmental situations near the nest site and the expertise and experience of the parents.

Then, parents indulge in feeding the young with a nourishing diet for a few weeks after leaving their nest sites.

What is their conservation status?

The Cormorants that don't prefer to stay in more giant colonies near cliffs belong to the Least Concern category listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Pelagic Cormorant Fun Facts

What do Pelagic Cormorants look like?

Pelagic Cormorants are long-bodied sea birds, and their necks are long and thin.

Breeding adults have a slim and thinner bill that will be curved and hooked at the top, supporting a quick grab of their diet. This species will have shining black plumage during their breeding season. In addition, they will have white flank patches on their sides.

Face skin would be magenta. Feet with webbed toes would be relatively large. Cormorants will keep their neck straight in flight. Their wings are short, helping for an effective swim.

Males and females will look the same except that females are a little smaller, although it might not be notable, they are slightly smaller in size than males.

How cute are they?

Pelagic Cormorants who nest on cliffs are not so beautiful at an initial glance due to their dull facial skin and not-so-great-looking white patches on their sides during the non-breeding season. However, they acquire an impeccable, flashy appearance during their breeding season, making them look cute and attractive.

How do they communicate?

Pelagic Cormorants, known for their non-migration and building nest sites on cliffs, are silent on most occasions and like to make sounds during the breeding season.

However, the sounds and alarms that males and females make are almost the same, except that males do generate unique vocalization while yawning.

How big is a Pelagic Cormorant?

The Pelagic Cormorant adult is bigger than Snowy Egret and thinner than Double-Crested Cormorant seen in Alberta. The length of this remarkable bird is 25-35 in (64-89 cm), and the wingspan is about 3.3 ft (1 m). Non-breeding birds would look the same as Red-Faced Cormorants.

How fast can a Pelagic Cormorant move?

Though there is no specific study done on Pelagic Cormorant's speed, it is assumed that it will have a similar speed as similar species like common Cormorants that can go up to 35 mph (56 kph).

How much does a Pelagic Cormorant weigh?

A Pelagic Cormorant weighs about 3.02-5.37 lb (1370-2440 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male is called the male Pelagic Cormorant and the female is called the female Pelagic Cormorant.

What would you call a baby Pelagic Cormorant?

A young baby Pelagic Cormorant is called Chick.

What do they eat?

Pelagic Cormorants known for their non-migration and building nest sites on cliffs are carnivores and feed on small fish (herrings, sculpins, greenlings, and sand lance) as their preferred diet. They also feed on shrimps, crabs, lobsters, and prawns.

Their eyes are robust providing remarkable underwater vision. They are assumed not to indulge in feeding on dead fish though no specific study is done yet.

Are they poisonous?

They are not poisonous as some people do eat them (although not often), and there is no specific record of health issues reported yet.

Would they make a good pet?

Cormorant birds who nest on cliffs do not make a good pet as their feces are pretty unpleasant. Moreover, keeping these North American young and adult birds is strictly prohibited in most countries. Also, the killing of these birds is illegal.

Did you know...

Pelagic Cormorants birds, majorly seen in California and nest on cliffs, can hold their breath for up to 120 seconds which helps them grab fish during their underwater search. Also, though they stay together with other species like Pigeon Guillemots, which also feed on fish, Cormorants target bigger fish.

Brandt's vs Pelagic Cormorant

Cormorant pelagic birds are more petite than Brandt's Cormorant. In addition, breeding Pelagic Cormorants have a red skin patch on their chin, whereas Brandts have a blue skin patch during their breeding season.

Are they predators?

Cormorant birds, majorly seen in California, feed on bottom-living small fish and tiny sea-living animals. Their eggs in the nest and younger chicks in the nesting colonies could be predated by birds like eagles, crows, and gulls. Foxes, coyotes, and raccoons predate young Pelagic Cormorants. Owls and bald eagles are capable of feeding on even matured breeding adults.

Water contaminants and oil pollution threaten Cormorant Pelagic birds. In addition, recreational activities near seashores would impact the livelihood of these North American Pacific species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these birds of paradise facts and barn owls facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our pelagic cormorant coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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