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Neotropic Cormorant

Phalacrocorax auritus

Length: 26 inches Wingspan: 40 inches Seasonality: Rare Visitor
ID Keys: Similar to Double-Crested Cormorant, with longer tail, yellow throat pouch with sharp white border in breeding plumage

Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianusThe Neotropic Cormorant is very similar to the Double-Crested Cormorant, and is sometimes found with them.  Neotropic Cormorants are found throughout the American Tropics up through Texas, but have been expanding their range northward in recent decades.  They are formerly known as the Olivaceous Cormorant.

Habitat: Found both in coastal waters and inland fresh water or brackish water.  May use a wide variety of aquatic habitats. 

Diet: Mostly small fish, also frogs and tadpoles, insects, and crustaceans.

Behavior: Forages by diving from the surface and swimming underwater after prey, propelled by its feet.  Groups of the species sometimes forage cooperative, driving fish into shallow water.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Occasional grunts and croaks.

Migration: Generally a permanent resident throughout its range.  Normally found in the extreme southern U.S. and Mexico, the Neotropic Cormorant is expanding its range northward, but is still a very rare visitor to South Dakota.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Neotropic Cormorant sightings

Similar Species: Double-Crested Cormorant

Conservation Status: Declined sharply in the mid 20th century, but has since recovered.  Still increasing its inland range northward.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Neotropic Cormorant

2) Audubon Guide - Neotropic Cormorant

3) Neotropic Cormorant

Photo Information: Photo courtesy of George Jameson


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Neotropic Cormorant - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Extremely rare visitor, with only a handful of records in the state.

Additional Neotropic Cormorant Photos (Coming soon!)