Phalacrocorax carbo   (Linnaeus,  1758) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Pbase

Size: 80-100 cm; Length: 80-100 cm.

Color: Generally black with a greenish gloss; cheeks, throat to upper breast white; thigh patches white when breeding. Immature blackish-brown above, off-white below. Bare parts: iris green; lores orange in male, scarlet in female; bill grey-darker above; gular pouch olive to dark green; feet and legs black. Immature with yellow gular pouch.

Voice: Usually silent.

Habits: Occurs in small groups generally in the deeper waters for fishing, forms large flocks during breeding season, breed in large heronries from September to February.

Adult: Sexes alike. Black waterbirds with a slender bill, hooked at tip and stiff longish tail. Breeding: Glossy black plumage with metallic blue-green sheen, throat and front half of face white, gular pouch bright yellow, silky white plumage on head and neck, a broad white patch on posterior flanks. Non-breeding (winter): Yellow gular pouch less bright, silky white of head and neck and the white patch on posterior flanks disappear. Juvenile: Brown above and white below.

Breeding season: The timing of breeding varies geographically, occurring all year round. Nest- The nest varies from a depression to a platform of sticks, reeds and seaweed. On the coast the species nests on inshore islands, cliffs, stacks, amongst boulders and occasionally on artificial structures, also nesting inland on trees or bushes, in reedbeds or on bare ground. The species usually nests in mixed-species colonies, often re-using sites and nests from year to year.

Synonym (s)
Phalacrocorax carbo Ripley, 1982
Phalecanus sinensis Shaw, 1801

Common Name (s)
• Great Cormorant (English)
• long-tailed cormorant (English)
• Pan Kawri
• Large Cormorant (English)
• Cormorant (English)
• common cormorant (English)
• Valiya neerakakka (Malayalam)
• Bontakaki, Pedda neeti kaki (Telugu)
• Motha pankawla, Kardhok (Marathi)
• Jal kagdo, Moto kajiyo (Gujrati)
• Ghogur, Paan-kowwa, Jal-kowwa (Hindi)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The species is often persecuted by the aquaculture industry and may be shot, drowned or poisoned in attempts to control numbers. It may also suffer from disturbance from coastal wind farms (wind turbines). )
Threats:  Natural threats
(Susceptible to avian influenza and Newcastle disease so may be threatened by future outbreaks of these viruses )
Importance:  Commercial
(The species is hunted for recreation and is sold at commercial food markets in Iran.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Rocky, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Fish, including sculpins, Capelin, gadids as well as crustaceans, amphibians, molluscs and nestling birds
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• North West INDIA
• Goa INDIA (Record: 17/11/1997, 15/08/2000, 09/09/2000)
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.66) (Long: 76.55) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.28) (Long: 76.31) INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Pulicat Lake INDIA
• Haryana, Kurukshetra INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Pallikaranai Wetlands INDIA
• Kerela, Kuttanad wetlands INDIA
• Delhi, Okhla barrage bird sanctuary INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Birds Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Johnsingh, AJT (2001) The Kalakad-Mundanthurai tiger reserve: A global heritage of biological diversity Current Science Indian Acadamy of Sciences 80(3) 378-388 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Fauna of Tripura (part-1) vertebrates ZSI, Kolkata 365 pp
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Khan, RA (2002) The ecology and faunal diversity of two floodplain Ox Bow lakes of south eastern West Bengal Occasional paper no. 195 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Kolkata 20821 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Jayson, EA (2001) Structure, composition and conservation of birds in Mangalvanam mangroves, Cochin, Kerala Zoos' Print Journal 16(5) 471-478 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Kumar, A (2002) Avifauna of Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary in the Aravalli hills of Rajasthan Zoos' Print Journal 17(4) 764-768 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Barua, M (2001) Mid winter waterfowl census at Pobitora wildlife sanctury for the year 2000 Zoos' Print Journal 16(5) 500-501 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Symens, P and Suhaibani, A (1993) The impact of Gulf War oil spills on wintering seabird populations along the northern Arabian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, 1991 Sandgrouse 15 37-43 Available at - ZOOR13000057326
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • PBase Available at -
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Nagarjuna, A; Kumar,NVN; Kalarani, V and Reddy, DC (2010) Aquatic and avian biodiversity of Pulicat brackish water lake and ecological degradation World Journal of Fish and Marine Sciences IDOSI Publications 2 (2) 118-123 Available at -
  • Srinivasulu, C (2004) Birds of kawal wildlife sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh , India Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 101(1) 3-25 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Gupta RC, Kaushik TK and Gupta PK (2012) WINTER MIGRATORY WETLAND BIRDS IN HARYANA ARE CONFRONTING ADVERSE CONDITIONS IN RURAL PONDS Resulting in reduction in arrival number: A case study of village Amin in Thanesar block in Kurukshetra district Indian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Life Sciences 2 (1) 7pp Available at -
  • Sivaperuman C and Jayson EA (2000) Birds of Kol wetland, Thrissur, Kerala Zoo's print journal 15(10) 344-349pp Available at -
  • Nikhil Raj PP, Ranjini J, Dhanya R, Subramanian J, Azeez PA and Bhupathy S (2010) Consolidated checklist of birds in the Pallikaranai Wetlands, Chennai, India Journal of Threatened Taxa 2(8) 1114-1118pp Available at -
  • Kumar P and Gupta SK (2009) Diversity and Abundance of Wetland Birds around Kurukshetra, India Our Nature 7 212-217 Available at -
  • Narayanan SP, Thomas AP and Sreekumar B (2011) Ornithofauna and its conservation in the Kuttanad wetlands, southern portion of Vembanad-Kole Ramsar site, India Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(4) 1663–1676 Available at -
  • Urfi AJ (2003) The birds of Okhla barrage bird sanctuary, Delhi, India Forktail 19 39-50pp Available at -
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO

Page last updated on:2012-08-01

Back to Search