Indian cormorant

Discovering The Indian cormorant[Phalacrocorax fuscicollis]

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Scientific Classification


Indian cormorant

Within the cormorant family is the Indian Cormorant, or Phalacrocorax fuscicollis as it is known scientifically. Its distribution stretches west to Sind and east to Thailand and Cambodia, with its primary habitat being the inland waters of the Indian Subcontinent. This gregarious bird is distinguished from the

closely related tiny cormorant of a similar size by its unique traits. Notable features of the Phalacrocorax fuscicollis include its long, slender bill that ends in a hooked tip, a tiny head with a sloping brow, and piercing blue eyes.

Indian cormorant


  • Species Name: Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
  • Family: Phalacrocoracidae
  • Distribution: primarily found in the Indian Subcontinent’s interior seas, which stretch east to Thailand and Cambodia and west to Sind.
  • Physical Features:
    • Blue eyes set it apart from the small cormorant.
    • little head with a forehead that slopes down.
    • Long, slender bill with a hooked tip at the end.
  • Behavior:
    • Gregarious species.
  • Distinctive Characteristics:
    • bluish eyes.
    • forehead slanted.
    • The end of the bill has a hooked tip.
  • Habitat: lakes and rivers that are found inside the Indian Subcontinent’s inland waterways.
  • Range: East to Thailand and Cambodia, and west to Sind.


They was first formally described in 1826 when it was given the scientific name Phalacrocorax fuscicollis by English naturalist James Francis Stephens. Combining the Latin word “fuscus,” which means “dusky” or “brown,” with the Modern Latin suffix “-collis,” which means “-necked,”

results in the particular adjective “fuscicollis.” This name emphasizes the distinctive dark or dusky neck of the bird. There is no recognized subspecies of the Phalacrocorax fuscicollis, which is thought to be monotypic. In 2019, a more modern molecular phylogenetic study was published that offered light on the

Phalacrocorax fuscicollis evolutionary ties. Based on this research, the species is closely related to the small black cormorant; the two birds are thought to have split apart in the late Pliocene, some 2.5–3.2 million years ago. Our knowledge of the bird’s evolutionary history and relationships with other cormorant species has improved as a result of this DNA analysis.

Indian cormorant


Plumage ColorBronze brown
Upper PlumageScalloped in black
CrestLacks a crest
HeadSmall and slightly peaked
BillLong, narrow bill ending in a hooked tip
Facial Skin (Non-breeding)Bare yellow
Ear Tuft (Breeding)Short white ear tuft
ThroatIn some plumages, it has a white throat, but the white is restricted below the gape (unlike the much larger great cormorant)
Sexual DimorphismSexes are similar, but non-breeding adults and juveniles are browner
Breeding Season CharacteristicsBreeding birds have a short white ear tuft

Distribution and Habitat

This specific cormorant is gregarious, meaning it is frequently observed in groups in inland rivers or large wetlands throughout peninsular India and northern Sri Lanka. It is also found in mangroves and estuaries, but it is conspicuously absent from the open shore.

Breeding takes place in restricted, isolated locations, usually in breeding colonies consisting of mixed species. These birds range further east into Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, and toward the northeast, including areas like Assam.

Indian cormorant


These cormorants breed from July to February, depending on the amount of rainfall and the quality of the water. The breeding season in northern India runs from July to February, whereas in Sri Lanka it usually happens from November to February. Building a nest requires building a twig platform and

placing it in the forks of trees that are either partially submerged or on islands. Similar to other Phalacrocorax fuscicollis, storks, or waterbirds, these nesting locations frequently establish dense colonies with numerous levels of nests. They have a chalky surface, bluish-green tint, and often have three to five eggs in a clutch.


The Phalacrocorax fuscicollis is a piscivorous bird, meaning that its primary food source is fish. It uses a hunting method in which it plunges into the water in order to catch fish. Short dives are how the cormorant pursues and captures its prey underwater. To increase the effectiveness of

their hunting efforts, these birds frequently fish in groups, establishing a coordinated front to force fish into a corner. The main food source for them is fish, but they can also eat other aquatic animals including crustaceans and small frogs, which adds to their overall diet in their natural habitat.

Indian cormorant

Species in same Genus

SpeciesCommon Name
Phalacrocorax carboGreat Cormorant
Phalacrocorax nigerLittle Cormorant
Phalacrocorax auritusDouble-crested Cormorant
Phalacrocorax penicillatusBrandt’s Cormorant
Phalacrocorax brasilianusNeotropic Cormorant
Phalacrocorax aristotelisEuropean Shag
Phalacrocorax capillatusJapanese Cormorant
Phalacrocorax variusPied Cormorant


In the wild, the Phalacrocorax fuscicollis can live anywhere from 10 to 20 years, depending on the environment and possible threats like disease and predation.

Indian cormorant


  • Habitat Loss: habitats of wetlands being destroyed as a result of agriculture and development.
  • Human Disturbance:Feeding and breeding behaviors are impacted by fishing methods and disturbances at breeding colonies.
  • Pollution: The food sources for cormorants are impacted by pesticide and industrial runoff contaminating the water.
  • Climate Change: Nesting and foraging grounds are impacted by changing weather patterns and increasing sea levels.
  • Fishing Practices: Fish availability for cormorants is reduced by overfishing and harmful fishing practices.
  • Predation: Eggs and chicks are at risk from other birds or mammals preying on their nests.
  • Parasites and Diseases: Health and fertility can be impacted by a person’s susceptibility to illnesses and parasites.

Common Names in Different Languages

LanguageCommon Name
Hindiभारतीय शाग (Bhartiya Shag)
Bengaliভারতীয় শাগ (Bharatiya Shag)
Tamilஇந்திய கொக்கு (Indiya Kokku)
Teluguఇండియన్ కార్మరేంట్ (Indian Cormorant)
Kannadaಇಂಡಿಯನ್ ಕಾರ್ಮೊರೇಂಟ್ (Indian Cormorant)
Marathiइंडियन कॉर्मोरंट (Indian Cormorant)
Malayalamഇന്ത്യൻ കോർമ്മറാന്റ് (Indian Cormorant)
Urduبھارتی شیگ (Bhartiya Sheeg)
Indian cormorant


  1. What is the Phalacrocorax fuscicollis?
    • One species of bird in the cormorant family is the Phalacrocorax fuscicollis. It is renowned for both its broad distribution over the Indian Subcontinent and its unique characteristics.
  2. Where is they found?
    • They are mostly found in the Indian Subcontinent, which stretches from Sri Lanka to the Indian Peninsula, along inland waterways. Its range encompasses areas such as Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia.
  3. What does they eat?
    • Because it is a piscivorous bird, the Phalacrocorax fuscicollis mostly eats fish. It hunts underwater by using diving techniques. It might also eat other aquatic creatures like crustaceans.
  4. How does they breed?
    • Breeding usually takes place from July to February, though this can change depending on things like rainfall. In mixed-species breeding colonies, nests are built on partially submerged trees or islands, with a typical clutch size of three to five bluish-green eggs.
  5. What are the threats to the Phalacrocorax fuscicollis?
    • The loss of habitat, human disturbance, pollution, climate change, fishing methods, predation, and vulnerability to parasites and diseases are some of the threats.
  6. How long do Phalacrocorax fuscicollis live?
    • In the wild, they are thought to live between 10 and 20 years, depending on the environment and any threats like illness and predation.

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