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Species Guide
A photo of a Neotropic Cormorant (Nannopterum brasilianum)
Neotropic Cormorant

Neotropic Cormorant

Nannopterum brasilianum

The Neotropic Cormorant, also known as the Olivaceous Cormorant, is a medium-sized bird that graces the American tropics and subtropics with its presence. Measuring approximately 64 cm (25 in) in length with a wingspan of 100 cm (39 in), this slender cormorant is distinguished by its long tail and the tendency to hold its neck in an S-shape. Adult males typically weigh between 1.1 to 1.5 kg (2.4 to 3.3 lb), with females slightly lighter. The species exhibits geographical size variation, with individuals from southern populations generally larger than their northern counterparts.

Identification Tips

Adults are predominantly black with a distinctive yellow-brown throat patch. During the breeding season, they develop white tufts on the sides of the head, white filoplumes on the head and neck, and a white-edged throat patch. The upper wings take on a grayer hue compared to the rest of the body. Juvenile Neotropic Cormorants are brownish, setting them apart from the darker adults.


The Neotropic Cormorant can be found in a variety of aquatic environments, from coastal regions, including mangrove areas, to inland waters.


This species ranges from the middle Rio Grande and the Gulf and Californian coasts of the United States, extending south through Mexico and Central America to southern South America. It is also a resident in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Trinidad.


A unique characteristic of the Neotropic Cormorant is its habit of perching on wires, a behavior not commonly observed in other cormorants. It is largely a permanent resident, with some individuals embarking on northward wanderings during warmer months.


Neotropic Cormorants are monogamous and nest in colonies. Their nests are platforms of sticks with a central depression, situated a few meters above ground or water. They lay up to five bluish-white eggs, which become nest-stained over time. Both parents share incubation duties for about 25-30 days and continue to feed the young until they gain independence around the 12th week.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Neotropic Cormorant primarily consists of small fish, but it also consumes tadpoles, frogs, aquatic insects, and shrimp. It forages by diving underwater, propelled by its feet, and is known to forage in groups to drive fish into shallows.

Conservation status

The Neotropic Cormorant is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that it currently faces no significant threats to its survival.

Neotropic Cormorant Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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