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Cormorants and Anhingas: Phalacrocoracidae

Physical Characteristics, Cormorants, Anhingas And People, Great Cormorant (phalacrocorax Carbo): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION, CONSERVATION STATUS


Cormorants are spread widely across the worlds' continents, except for desert areas and the very coldest regions. The birds that nest in the coldest regions migrate to warmer places in winter. Anhingas live in the warm, tropical and subtropical areas of North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Cormorants and anhingas live in freshwater wetlands, swamps, lakes, rivers, and estuaries (wet areas near the ocean where freshwater and saltwater mix). Ahingas that live near the ocean stay close to shore, cormorants fly out over the coastal waters.

Besides fish, these birds also eat other water animals such as frogs and crayfish. Cormorants snatch their prey with their bills, and anhingas usually spear their food. After swimming, the birds sit on perches and spread their wings in the sunshine.

Usually cormorants and anhingas breed in colonies. They build rather messy nests on tree limbs or on cliff ledges. Both parents sit on the eggs and care for the young. When they are not breeding, they often flock together for feeding and for roosting at night.

One species of anhinga and fourteen species of cormorants are at risk. The Pallas's cormorant has recently become Extinct (died out). Of the fourteen cormorant species, two are listed as Endangered.

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Animal Life ResourceBirds