Neotropic Cormorant

: A Bird Worth Knowing

The Neotropic Cormorant is a fascinating bird that can be found in many parts of the Americas. These sleek black birds have distinctive appearances and behaviors, making them well worth getting to know.

Basic Description
The Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) is a member of the cormorant family, which also includes other species like the Double-crested Cormorant and Great Cormorant. They are smaller than these two relatives, only growing up to around 28 inches long with a wingspan of about 40 inches. The adult birds have glossy black feathers with green or blue highlights on their wings and head during breeding season. They have bright turquoise-colored eyes and long necks that they use for diving underwater to catch prey.

Where To Find This Bird
Neotropic Cormorants can be found throughout much of Central America, South America, and some southern parts of North America. Some areas where you may spot these birds include Florida’s Gulf Coast; along rivers in Costa Rica; near freshwater lakes in Mexico; and on islands off the coast of Chile.

Neotropic Cormorants prefer aquatic habitats such as rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps or lagoons near coastal regions but they also inhabit estuaries or mangroves less frequently.
They roost communally on trees overhanging freshwater habitat such as wetlands
and roosting sites are often reused for years if not disturbed

These birds feed primarily on small fish such as mullet which they catch by diving from the surface into shallow water depths less than 10m.
They pursue prey underwater using short bursts alternating wing flaps with swimming strokes until catching it deeper underwater using powerful feet paddles .

Cool Facts
• The Neotropic cormorants were once considered subspecies alongside Double-Crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) but were later on separated
• They are highly social and can be found in large flocks
• During breeding season, the males often bring sticks to the females, who then arrange them into their nests.
• While they primarily feed on small fish, they have been observed eating crustaceans and even small snakes.

In conclusion, Neotropic Cormorants are fascinating birds that are worth keeping an eye out for if you happen to be near bodies of freshwater in parts of the Americas. With their distinctive appearance and behaviors, they offer insights into how animals adapt to aquatic environments.