Little Cormorants (Phalacrocorax niger)

The Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds.

Little Cormorants

Distribution / Breeding:

It breeds in tropical south Asia from southern Pakistan through India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia. It is resident but undertakes some limited seasonal movements.

Originally described by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1817, this is a common and widespread bird species.

It breeds in freshwater wetlands and on coasts. 3-5 eggs are laid in a nest in a tree or long grass.


This is a small cormorant, 55 cm in length. Its rectangular head profile and short bill are distinctions from the somewhat larger Indian Cormorant. Little Cormorant is mainly glossy black in the breeding season, with white head plumes and a whitish throat. The wing-coverts are silvery, and it has a longish tail.

Males and females look alike, but non-breeding adults and juveniles are browner and lack the head plumes.

Feeding / Diet:

The Little Cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but usually feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. A wide variety of fish are taken.


  • BirdLife International (2004). Phalacrocorax niger. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Seabirds by Harrison, ISBN
  • Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN

Cormorant InformationListing of SpeciesCormorant / Shag Species Photos

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