Fun Cormorant Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Cormorant Facts For Kids

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A cormorant bird is a unique bird from a family of aquatic birds. This family comes under the class of aves and can be spotted along the coastal areas, which forms their primary nesting ground. They are primarily found in groups along the inland waters. The presence of large quantities of food, like fish and crustaceans, influences their habitat. It also varies according to species, like the adult great cormorant has a preference for rivers. They are distributed mainly in the Faroe Islands. At present, there are 42 known species of cormorants, which include the bounty shag, Indian cormorant, Aukland shag, and many more.

A cormorant has a unique appearance, and most of the species have blue or yellow skin patches all over their face. This color becomes brighter with the approach of the mating season. Cormorants are known to dive for fishing, and their comparatively short wings help them to move with ease under the water. Since the wings are short, flight proves to be quite tricky for a cormorant.

You may also check out these fact files on the great cormorant and whiskered screech owl from Kidadl.

Fun Cormorant Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Fish, Eels, baby water snakes

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.7-11 lb (0.31-5 kg)

How long are they?

18-39 in (45.7-99 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Feathers of dark color with the face skin being light (generally yellow)

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans And Habitat Destruction

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern: Great cormorant Least Concern: Double crested cormorant

Where you'll find them?

Freshwater Habitat And Coastal Shores


North America, South America, Australia, Asia









Cormorant Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a cormorant?

A cormorant is a bird species with blue or red-colored patches on the face.

What class of animal does a cormorant belong to?

A cormorant belongs to the order Suliformes under the class of Aves. It belongs to the family of the common shag and double crested cormorants.

How many cormorants are there in the world?

Cormorant birds are a fish-eating species of birds. The exact count of their breeding populations is not known. But approximately 143,000 breeding populations of these birds were found around the Great Lakes in 2019.

Where does a cormorant live?

A cormorant or shag is a fish-eating bird, which is found in coastal areas. They prefer the inland waters and do not live out in the open sea. This bird builds its nest over the rocky cliffs. There is some variation in cormorant habitat according to the species. For instance, the nests of the great cormorant can be found chiefly around freshwater lakes.

What is a cormorant's habitat?

A cormorant or shag is a bird that is often found in coastal areas. The habitats of these birds vary according to species and range from Asia, Africa, Australia to the entire America. They are also found in a large number of islands. The great cormorant is mainly found along rivers and freshwater lakes. There are subspecies of the great cormorant, which can be seen in Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. These birds prefer nesting sites near lakes or rivers, especially during mating.

Who do cormorants live with?

A cormorant or shag is a bird that is found in colonies or groups of up to 4000 birds. They can be found on trees or near a shore.

How long does a cormorant live?

Cormorants are fish-eating bird species that focus on flight much more than other species of birds. They are known to survive for 24 years.

How do they reproduce?

The season of breeding for these birds begins around July, especially for the Indian cormorant. This season varies according to the species. Young cormorants become sexually mature at about three years. The pairs use a single nest for breeding every year. They built these nests on trees with mainly sticks. These birds are monogamous and come together in colonies for breeding. In a single clutch, these birds lay about five eggs, which take a month to hatch. Cormorant eggs are usually small, and weigh between 0.08-0.13 lb (36.2-58.9 g).

What is their conservation status?

Almost all species of cormorants (or shag) come under the tag of ‘Least Concern.’ However, these birds are persecuted in certain areas where they are considered as a competition for human fishing.

Cormorant Fun Facts

What do cormorants look like?

A cormorant or shag is a bird, which has a petite body covered with dark feathers. They have webbed feet, a long and thin bill, and a curved neck. There are some species of cormorants that have light-colored patches of skin on the face. These patches can be yellow, bright blue, or orange. The breeding adults of the little cormorant have a black head, while the adult great cormorant is totally black in color.

Cormorant in water

How cute are they?

Cormorants are birds with blue or light-colored face patches. A baby cormorant is very cute to look at, but the adults are not.

How do they communicate?

The cormorant or shag populations communicate by hoarse calls. In order to mark their territory, a shag will also use a visual display. Cormorant sounds include deep grunts much like that of a pig.

How big is a cormorant?

These seabirds can have a size between 18-39 in (45.7-99 cm), which varies according to the different species. This makes them at least two times bigger than a least tern.

How fast can a cormorant fly?

Certain cormorant species are known to fly at 35 mph (56.3 kph).

How much does a cormorant weigh?

The range of weight of a cormorant or shag is between 0.7-11 lb (0.31-5 kg ).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The adult cormorants have no separate names for the male and female birds.

What would you call a baby cormorant?

The young ones of a cormorant or shag, which hatches from eggs, are called a chick.

What do they eat?

The diet of a cormorant includes fish, and at times crustaceans or amphibians too. These birds dive in the water for food. Apart from diving for food, they also hunt fishes by swimming and catching fish.

Are they invasive?

No, they are not an invasive species, contradicting the common belief. The double crested cormorant is especially believed to be an invasive species, but these birds are native to Ontario.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make a good pet. The diet of an adult cormorant is primarily made of live fish, which they hunt by swimming. This setup of a flightless cormorant will be difficult to make available in your home.

Did you know...

Cormorant facts are quite fascinating. Did you know that they can stay below water for extensive times. These birds have comparatively shorter wings to ease their movement under the water.

The feathers of a cormorant are not exactly waterproof, unlike the ducks. The feathers of a shag often get waterlogged, and they are noticed to dry them in the sun.

Many cormorant species are often seen to be using the nests of herons to breed their young ones. These young chicks are fed through regurgitation. Before they are born, both the parent birds take turns to keep the eggs warm.

Although cormorants are harmless birds and cormorant fishing technique is unique, yet in some areas, they pose a threat to fishing. Due to this reason, they are often threatened by humans. Another fun fact is that the cormorant pronunciation is not the same in many countries, and is influenced by local dialects.

Types of cormorant

There are at least 42 species of cormorants. These include double crested cormorant, European shag, Otago shag, Crozet shag, neotropic cormorant, pelagic cormorant, white breasted cormorant, little cormorant, Guanay cormorant, and so on. These species mostly vary according to the head colors, head shape, etc. For instance, a little cormorant breeding adult has an all-black head, while the populations of great cormorant will be seen with a white head.

How long can a cormorant stay underwater?

Cormorants are known to dive and hunt for fish. They are known to stay underwater for long times, even more than 50-60 seconds.

Can you kill a cormorant?

The Fish and Wildlife services of the USA have recently granted permission to kill cormorants in the culling season. It was restricted by the wildlife services due to controversies around the Great Lake region. But these wildlife services have again granted permission keeping in mind the balance of the population of these birds. But you will have to apply for permission mentioning your plan of kill as well.

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 flightless cormorant facts and night heron facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Cormorant coloring pages.

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