Great cormorant pictures, taken at Horn Pond in Woburn, MA.
The Great Cormorant is a bird of many names depending on where you are in the world. It is also known as the Black Shag, the Black Cormorant or the Great Black Cormorant. It's widespread in much of Europe, Asia and Africa. However it's also found along the Atlantic coast of North America. Flock sizes along the coast have increased only in the last few decades. Research notes that these birds don't travel far inland, however seeing them in Woburn, MA indicates they've come in a reasonable distance off the coast. Some research shows them flocking in as far as mid-NY state and mid-PA. They do feed in fresh water, as well as the ocean. The birds migrate south in the winter to catch fish farther down the coast.
The Great Cormorant is almost 3 feet in length and has a wingspan of 52 inches. Juvenviles have different markings than adults. Juvenviles have a brown breast and white belly speckled with brown, a dark gray head and dark wings. Adults are black birds with a white band across its throat and white patches near the legs. Both adults and juveniles have a yellow throat pouch. They have thick bills and relatively short tails.
These birds nest near the water in trees, cliffs or rocks, making their nests from twigs, debris or seaweed. They offer 1 brood of 2 eggs per year. Baby birds don't leave the nest for 21-28 days and is not completely independent for 63-70 days. Birds will leave the nest, but will return to be fed by both parents.
Great Cormorants feed on fish and amphibians, mostly from the near the water's surface. They are able to dive down 25 feet below the surface and can stay there for over a minute. Their feathers are not completely waterproof, so they can often be found perched, basking in the sun to their feathers.