Phalacrocorax brasilianus - (Gmelin, 1789)
Neotropic Cormorant
Other English Common Names: Olivaceus Cormorant
Other Common Names: Biguá-Una
Synonym(s): Phalacrocorax olivaceus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Phalacrocorax brasilianus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) (TSN 554375) ;Phalacrocorax olivaceus (Humboldt, 1905) (TSN 174722)
French Common Names: Cormoran vigua
Spanish Common Names: Cormorán Oliváceo
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101652
Element Code: ABNFD01030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 10568

© Bruce A. Sorrie

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Suliformes Phalacrocoracidae Phalacrocorax
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly known as the olivaceous cormorant, P. olivaceus (see AOU 1991, Browning 1989, Banks and Browning 1995). See Siegel-Causey (1988) for an analysis of relationships within the family. Siegel-Causey (1988) proposed removing this species from the genus Phalacrocorax and including it in the genus Hypoleucus; DeBenedictis (1990, Birding 21:166-168) concluded that the taxonomic ranks of many groups recognized by Siegel-Causey (1988) are inflated and inconsistent with other taxonomic data.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 20Nov1996
Global Status Last Changed: 20Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (05Jan1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arizona (SNRB,S1N), Arkansas (S1), Louisiana (S4), New Mexico (S3B,S4N), Texas (S4B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Resident from Sonora, southern New Mexico, coastal Texas (north to around Dallas), and southwestern Louisiana south through Middle and South America; also Cuba and Bahamas. Casual or accidental in various localities north of main range.

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size Comments: Total Louisiana population was about 6900 in the early 1980s, 2755 birds in 10 colonies in 1990). About 2500 nested in Texas in 1982 (nesting population may have declined slightly, 1976-1981) (Spendelow and Patton 1988, Clapp and Buckley 1984). See also King (1989) for information on Texas population. See Johnsgard (1993) for further information on Texas breeding colonies.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: See King (1989) for information on contamination with DDE and PCB in Texas.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Resident from Sonora, southern New Mexico, coastal Texas (north to around Dallas), and southwestern Louisiana south through Middle and South America; also Cuba and Bahamas. Casual or accidental in various localities north of main range.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AR, AZ, LA, NM, TX

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Lafayette (05073)
NM Sierra (35051), Socorro (35053)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
11 Mckinney-Posten Bayous (11140201)+
13 Elephant Butte Reservoir (13020211)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: In Texas, egg records extend from early February to mid-October, with a peak between April and August (Johnsgard 1993). Breeding is nearly complete by late June in Colombia; some nesting begins in April in Panama (Hilty and Brown 1986). Clutch size is 2-6 (reportedly usually 4 but mean 2.9 in Texas). Incubation averages about 24-25 days. Young are tended by both sexes (Palmer 1962), independent by 12 weeks. Renests if clutch is lost. In Texas, 43% of chicks fledged (see Johnsgard 1993).
Ecology Comments: Sociable, but more often alone or in pairs along forested rivers (Hilty and Brown 1986). Typically forages singly. In Argentina, young dispersed mainly within 650 km of natal site (see Johnsgard 1993). In Texas, raccoons and boat-tailed grackles prey on eggs and young.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: May make seasonal or erratic movements at the northern and southern extremes of the range (Johnsgard 1993).
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Scrub-shrub wetland, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Special Habitat Factors: Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Rivers, lakes, marshes, and seacoasts. Prefers shallow clear water at low elevations (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Also occurs in montain streams and alpine lakes in South America. Nests on coastal islands, and around inland lakes, reservoirs, ponds; in living or dead trees or bushes, 1-7 m above water, mostly in tallest available trees or shrubs. Also on rocks or bare ground where woody vegetation lacking. In Louisiana, most nesting occurred in heronries.
Adult Food Habits: Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Piscivore
Food Comments: Apparently eats mainly fishes; also amphibians and dragonfly nymphs. At Galveston Bay, Texas, about 50% of diet was CYPRINODON VARIEGATUS (King 1989). At Sabine Lake, Texas, sailfin molly was most important, with CYPRINODON, FUNDULUS, GAMBUSIA, MICROPOGON, and MUGIL making up the rest of the diet; these are small, abundant species of protected inlets and ponds (Morrison et al., cited by Johnsgard 1993). May fish in strong surf or cooperatively in lines in rivers (Terres 1980).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Most active between sunrise and sunset.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 66 centimeters
Weight: 1260 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Cormorants

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Breeding Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Map foraging areas as separate polygons if they are separated from the breeding colony by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Occurrences include nesting areas and associated nesting-season foraging areas, but separation distance pertains to nesting areas (breeding colonies). Thus different breeding occurrences may overlap if birds from different nesting areas forage in the same area. Separation distance is not intended to delineate demographically independent populations or metapopulations (such units would be quite large) but rather serves to circumscribe breeding occurrences that are of practical size for conservation/management use.

Unsuitable habitat: upland areas not closely bordering water.

Cormorants usually nest in relatively dense colonies. Within-colony movement limited, but individuals can forage many kilometers from colony. Double-crested Cormorants on the Farallon Islands regularly fly a roundtrip of at least 70 kilometers to feed (Ainley and Boekelheide 1990); in Massachusetts, most feed much closer to colony than that, but some travelled 30 kilometers out (Hatch and Weseloh 1999). Pelagic Cormorants ranged up to 15 kilometers from Farallon Islands, but usually stayed much closer (Ainley and Sanger 1979). Great Cormorants had a maximum foraging range of 37 kilometers in Nova Scotia (Ross 1974-1976) and France; in France returned repeatedly to restricted feeding sites (Gremillet et al. 1999).

Philopatry to proximity of natal colony suggested by median band recovery distance of only 25 kilometers for Double-crested Cormorants at least three years old (Dolbeer 1991); substantial fidelity to previous-year's nest site in Great Cormorants (Schjorring et al. 2000). However, an expanding group of double-crested cormorant colonies in Lake Huron, Michigan, included individuals from most breeding sites within 230 km (Belyea et al. in press, cited by Hatch and Weseloh 1999).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Somewhat arbitrary, but well within foraging distances of this group. Not applicable for colonies that are distinctly separate from foraging grounds.
Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Notes: Includes all cormorants.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging area, Loafing site, Roosting site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of past or present presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds (including nonbreeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season) and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 25 birds regularly occur for at least 20 days per year would be deemed EOs. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Mapping Guidance: Roosting and loafing sites that are separated from foraging concentration areas by commuting routes should be mapped as separate source feature polygons.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Roost and loafing sites associated with specific foraging concentration areas should be included with the foraging occurrence, even if they are separated by more than the nominal separation distance.
Separation Justification: Separation distance is arbitrary but intended to yield occurrences that are not impractically large. Occurrences are defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging cormorants, rather than on the basis of distinct populations. Roost and loafing sites associated with specific foraging concentration areas should be treated as one occurrence, even if they are separated by more than the nominal separation distance.
Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Notes: Includes all cormorants.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Feb1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Banks, R. C., and M. R. Browning. 1995. Comments on the status of revived old names for some North American birds. Auk 112:633-648.

  • BirdLife International. 2004b. Threatened birds of the world 2004. CD ROM. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

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  • Hilty, S. J., J. A. Gwynne, and G. Tudor. 2003. The birds of Venezuela, 2nd edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

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