New Mexico Birds: Suliformes

 

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Phalacrocoracidae: Neotropic Cormorant (Nannopterum brasilianum)

This species was formerly known as Phalacrocorax brasilianus

 

In the spring of 2021, I noticed that neotropic cormorants had established a home base (including nests in a tree) on an island in Tingley Beach. (That May I could hear the hatchlings in the nests.) From there the cormorants spread up and down the river during the day to hunt fish. In the late summer, they vanished; not surprising, since they winter well south of New Mexico.

 

When cormorants swim, their bodies are mostly underwater. I'm distinguishing these birds from double-crested cormorants (P. auritus) based on the lack of highly obvious yellow lores (the spaces between the beaks and eyes), the limited yellow at the base of the beak, the thin whitish fringe to the beak, and how brown the juvenile's breast is.