Pied Cormorant

Habitat: Coastal, Marine, Wetland


The Pied Cormorant is found in marine habitats (almost exclusively so in Western Australia), including estuaries, harbours and bays. It is also found in mangroves and on large inland wetlands in eastern Australia.


The Pied Cormorant is generally sedentary, but young birds will disperse over long distances. As their feathers are not waterproof, cormorants are regularly seen perched with their wings outstretched to dry after fishing.


The Pied Cormorant mainly feeds on fish, but will also take crustaceans and molluscs. Like other cormorants, it catches prey underwater, by diving and swimming using its large, fully webbed feet for propulsion. It has special nictitating membranes that cover and protect the eyes underwater.


The Pied Cormorant breeds in colonies on coastal islands, flooded tree plains, mangroves and sometimes on artificial structures such as beacons. The large nest is constructed from seaweed, twigs or sticks cemented together with droppings, and is placed in a tree or on the ground. Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young.