Animal Species:Little Pied Cormorant

The Little Pied Cormorant is one of the most common of Australia's waterbirds, occurring on water bodies of almost any size.

Little Pied Cormorant sitting on log by water

N Chaffer © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Little Pied Cormorant

Identification

The Little Pied Cormorant is entirely black above and white below. The face is dusky and, in adult birds, the white of the underside extends to above the eye. Immature birds resemble the adults except there is no white above the eye.

Size range

50 cm to 66 cm

Similar Species

Pied Cormorant

Distribution

The Little Pied Cormorant is found throughout Australia.

Habitat

The Little Pied Cormorant is at home in either fresh or salt water. It is often seen in large flocks on open waterways and on the coast, especially where large numbers of fish are present. On inland streams and dams, however, it is often solitary. The Little Pied Cormorant mixes readily with the similarly sized Little Black Cormorant, P. sulcirostris.

Feeding and Diet

Little Pied Cormorants feed on a wide variety of aquatic animals, from insects to fish. On inland streams and dams they turn to their most favoured food: yabbies (freshwater crayfish). These are caught by deep underwater dives with both feet kicking outward in unison. Other crustaceans are also taken, with shrimps being a large part of their diet in winter months.

Mating and reproduction

Little Pied Cormorants breed either in colonies or, less commonly, in single pairs. The nest is a flat platform of sticks, lined with green leaves and is usually placed in a tree. Both adults share in egg incubation and care of the young.

  • Clutch size: 3 to 4

Classification

Species:
melanoleucos
Genus:
Phalacrocorax
Family:
Phalacrocoracidae
Order:
Pelecaniformes
Class:
Aves
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • Lindsey, T.R. 1986. The Seabirds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, and the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife Sydney.


Ondine Evans , Web Researcher/Editor
Last Updated:

Tags BIBY, birds, cormorant, little pied, water birds, sea birds,

2 comments

Jaynia Sladek - 11.07 AM, 29 July 2011

Hi Ken, according to Christidis & Boles (2008), the current genus for the Little Pied Cormorant is Microcarbo.  You can check out their reasons why in the publication:Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood. Best regards, Jaynia.

thommo - 12.07 PM, 13 July 2011
Is the current Genus reference for the Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax or Microcarbo? Most references state Phalacrocorax while a couple including the 8th edition of Pizzey & Knight's 'The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia' say Microcarbo. Thanks.

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