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photo: Double Crested Cormorant Cormorant - Double Crested

On Seneca lake the Cormorant is seen most often in flight. They tend to group near the uninhabited sections of lake shore which is why they are rarely seen in the water if not on a boat. In flight they are recognizable because their body is very straight and rigid. On take off, it takes them a while to separate themselves from the water. In the water they sit very low which makes it difficult to distinguish them from the Loons and even the Mergansers.

Identification Tips:
Length: 27 inches Wingspan: 50 inches
Sexes similar
Large, dark waterbird with a long, hooked bill and long tail
Long, thin neck
Gular area squared off and orange, extending straight down across throat
Orange lores
Often perches with wings spread to dry them

Entirely black plumage, Small white plumes on head during breeding season.
Similar species:
Loons are similar on the water, but lack hooked bills. The Anhinga has a long, pointed bill and a much longer tail. All adult cormorant species in the U.S. are separable by the shape and color of the gular areas. No other species has orange lores and gular region that does not form a point at the gape. The Neotropical Cormorant can be similar but is slimmer, longer-tailed, and has a differently shaped gular area. Great Cormorant is also similar but has a yellowish, pointed gular area surrounded with white as an adult. Immatures are dark-chested and pale bellied, unlike Double-crested.


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