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Flightless Cormorant

The Flightless Cormorant (Nannopterum harrisi, cormoran) is unmistakably recognized by the stubby vestigial appendages that serve as completely useless wings. Although they cannot fly, they are excellent swimmers that feed on small fish, eels, and octopus. Adults have black upper feathers and brown under feathers, but they—like the juveniles—look completely black when wet. They also have short black legs, large, black webbed feet, brilliant turquoise eyes, and a hooked, black bill. Although the cormorant is a common bird around the world, flightless ones are only found on Galapagos.

Like many other sea birds, flightless cormorants have an elaborate courtship display: pairs begin with an aquatic dance, followed by an unusual “snake necking” embrace, where necks are intertwined in a snake-like spiral, swimming back and forth, a continuation of the dance on land, and a final presentation of a seaweed nest to the female by the male. Most females lay their eggs between May and October, which are incubated for about a month and reared for about nine months by both pairs. If, however, food supplies run low, the female may leave this male to care for the chick while she looks for another, more apt, mate.

Flightless cormorants can be seen in Punta Espinosa (Fernandina) and the western visitor sites of Isabela.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Zebra Moray Eel, Shore Birds - Galapagos, Sergeant-Major, Galápagos Adventure Tours, Sea Birds - Galápagos, White-Tail Damselfish, Where to Book a galapagos Trip, Marine Life - Galápagos, Great Blue Heron and Bravo Clinid.

04 Jun 2007

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