Black Faced Cormorant

Quick Facts

Length: 75 cm
Height: -
Weight: -
Colour: Black and white with a naked black face. Upper parts also black, underparts are white with a black m
Habitat: Coastal waters, large bays, deep inlets, rocky headlands and islands
Food: Small fish
Predators: -
Status: Vulnerable in VIC. Secure in WA, TAS & SA. Not Present in NSW, NT & QLD
Black Faced Cormorant
Black Faced Cormorant

The Black-faced Cormorant is a large pied (black and white) cormorant with a naked black face. The upper parts are also black, the underparts are white, with a black mark on each thigh. The bill is dark grey, and the eyes are blue-green. The legs and feet are black. This species is also called the Black-faced Shag (shags are strictly marine cormorants).

The similarly sized and coloured Pied Cormorant has a yellow-orange naked face and a paler, grey bill. The Little Pied Cormorant is smaller and has a yellow bill.

The Black-faced Cormorant is found along the southern coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, and is common in Bass Strait and in Spencer Gulf, South Australia.

Black-faced Cormorants frequent coastal waters and are found in flocks in large bays, deep inlets, rocky headlands and islands. They seldom visit beaches.

Black-faced Cormorants are sedentary.

Black-faced Cormorants feed on small fish, which they catch by diving from the surface. After fishing, they sit with wings outstretched, apparently to dry their non-waterproofed feathers.

The Black-faced Cormorant breeds throughout the year in large colonies on off-shore islands. The nest is always on the ground, usually of seaweed and grasses on bare rock.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Thursday 9th January, 2014
BirdLife Australia -


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