GREAT CORMORANT

GREAT CORMORANT (Phalocrocorax carbo)

JAPAN: The Great Cormorants seen in Japan look different from the great cormorants seen in Prince Edward Island, Canada. They are quite similar to the Japanese Cormorant but are found in a different habitat – the Japanese cormorant fishes along the sea coasts, whereas the great cormorant is found inland on ponds, lakes, etc. This is a large bird, at about three feet long and a wing span of about five feet. It is widespread in the world. As with other cormorants, the great cormorant will dry its wings for a few minutes after a dive by spreading them while standing upright, which is quite an unusual sight in the bird world. One would think that Nature would have provided diving birds such as cormorants with waterproof feathers, so that they would not need to dry them after each dive. Apparently this question is not entirely resolved.

CORMORANT FISHING
Because those birds are good at catching fish, they have been used by fishermen in Japan for more than 1,300 years to help them catch fish. To do this, a line is tied around the throat of the birds to prevent them from swallowing their catch. Fishing boats bring several of the birds in a given expedition, starting at dark on a river. This tradition is still alive today, mostly for tourists though, from Japan and elsewhere.

Great cormorant drying its wings. Kinkaku-ji Garden pond, Kyoto.
Great cormorant drying its wings. Kinkaku-ji Garden pond, Kyoto.
Great cormorant drying its wings. View from the back. Kinkaku-ji Garden pond, Kyoto
Great cormorant drying its wings. View from the back. Kinkaku-ji Garden pond, Kyoto
Great cormorant drying its fully extended wings, view from the back. Note the color of the back of the head. Kinkaku-ji Garden pond, Kyoto
Great cormorant drying its fully extended wings, view from the back. Note the color of the back of the head. Kinkaku-ji Garden pond, Kyoto

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NEW ZEALAND : The Great Cormorant (also called Black Shag) is very common and widespread in New Zealand.

Great cormorant by the river - New Plymouth, NZ
Great cormorant by the river – New Plymouth, NZ

This video shows the same bird as above in Japan:

And this video shows another great cormorant in Japan on a pond at the Tokyo Imperial Gardens:

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