Neotropic cormorant

Exploring The Neotropic cormorant[Nannopterum brasilianum]

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Scientific Classification

AnimaliaChordataVertebrataAvesNeornithesNeognathaeSuliformesNeoavesPhalacrocoracidaePhalacrocoraxPhalacrocorax brasilianus

Neotropic cormorant

The medium-sized Neotropic Cormorant, scientifically named Nannopterum brasilianum, is sometimes called the olivaceous cormorant and is found across the American tropics and subtropics. Its distribution begins at the middle Rio Grande and continues southward along the Gulf and Californian coasts of the

United States, Mexico, and Central America to southern South America, where it is known by its native name, “biguá.” Additionally, the species breeds in a number of places, including as Trinidad, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Its habitat includes interior waters and coastal locations, especially mangrove habitats.

Regional differences can be observed in the Neotropic Cormorant, of which there are at least two identified subspecies: N. b. mexicanum, which is found from Nicaragua northward, and N. b. brasilianum, which is found further south. The Uru people of Peru are notable for using the neotropic cormorant for fishing.

Neotropic cormorant


  • Scientific Name: Nannopterum brasilianum
  • Size: Medium-sized
  • Distribution: found all over the tropical and subtropical regions of America
  • Range: Through Mexico and Central America, one can travel south to southern South America from the middle Rio Grande, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Californian coast of the United States.
  • Local Names: Known by native populations in southern South America as “biguá
  • Breeding Areas: Add Trinidad, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
  • Habitats: both interior waters and coastal environments, including mangrove habitats
  • Subspecies: There are at least two known subspecies: N. b. brasilianum (found farther south) and N. b. mexicanum (found from Nicaragua northward).
  • Cultural Use: The Uru people of Peru use the Nannopterum brasilianum for their fishing needs.


Discovery and Namingrecorded in 1658 during excursions to Brazil by Dutch scientist Willem Piso. Johann Friedrich Gmelin gave it a formal description and naming in 1789. He first gave it the scientific name Procellaria brasiliana and placed it in the genus Procellaria. Because of doubts regarding Piso’s birds, some authors later preferred Alexander von Humboldt’s 1805 description of Pelecanus olivaceus. Ralph Browning contended that Piso’s description did, in fact, refer to the neotropic cormorant, and this led to the approval of the name Phalacrocorax brasilianus.
Taxonomic ChangesIt was once assigned to the genus Phalacrocorax, but a 2014 molecular phylogenetic research showed that it is related to both the flightless and double-crested cormorants. It was discovered that this clade was sister to the genus Leucocarbo. As a result, the flightless cormorant, which Richard Bowdler Sharpe introduced in 1899, was replaced, along with the neotropic cormorant and the other two species, by the revived genus Nannopterum. The Greek terms “nannos” (dwarf) and “pteron” (wing) are combined to form the genus name Nannopterum.
SubspeciesThere are two recognized subspecies: N. b. brasilianum (inland and coastal from Costa Rica to Tierra del Fuego) and N. b. mexicanum (inland and coastal Great Plains from South Dakota to Nicaragua, including Bahamas and Cuba).
Neotropic cormorant


With a wingspan of 100 cm (39 in) and a length of 64 cm (25 in), the Nannopterum brasilianum is distinguished by its small size. Male adults weigh between 1.1 and 1.5 kg (2.4 and 3.3 lb), whereas female adults weigh between 50 and 100 g (1.8 and 3.5 oz). This species’ southern populations are often greater

than those in the north. It is small and thin in stature, especially in comparison to the larger and bulkier double-crested cormorant. Its tail is very long, and it frequently displays an S-shaped neck position. The mature plumage is mostly black with a patch of yellow-brown color on the

throat. White tufts appear on the sides of the head and sporadic white filoplumes on the head and neck during the breeding season. A white border also appears on the throat patch. The color of the upper wings is a shade grayer than that of the body. Juveniles, on the other hand, have a brownish coloring.


Small fish are the main source of food for them, but it also shows that it has a varied diet by eating tadpoles, frogs, water insects (such as dragonfly nymphs), and shrimp. Although there isn’t a lot of information known regarding its prey, observations indicate that inland individuals seem to

prefer small, easily accessible fish that can be found in ponds and protected inlets. Usually measuring less than 10 cm (3.9 in) in length, these fish only weigh one or two grams. Poecilia species, especially the sailfin molly Poecilia latipinna, are well-known for their small size. The cormorant uses a unique method

of foraging in which it dives under the surface and uses its feet to propel itself forward. These dives last anywhere from five to fifteen seconds, which is quite short. Additionally, they are known to engage in group foraging, where several birds collectively beat the water with their wings to corral fish into shallower areas.

Neotropic cormorant


  • Breeding Behavior:
    • Nannopterum brasilianum display monogamous behavior and breed in colonies.
  • Nesting Characteristics:
    • Stick platforms with a central hollow encircled by grass and twigs are used to build nests.
    • usually constructed in bushes or trees, a few meters above the ground or water.
  • Egg Characteristics:
    • form to five chalky, bluish-white eggs make form a clutch.
    • The mean number of eggs hatched is typically fewer than two, with most pairs laying three eggs.
    • The eggs often get discolored from the nest.
  • Incubation and Parental Care:
    • The 25–30 day incubation cycle is shared by both male and female cormorants.
    • Up to the eleventh week, both parents actively assist in feeding the young.
  • Independence:
    • By week 12, the young become independent.
  • Brood Frequency:
    • Typically, one brood is raised per year.
  • Residency Patterns:
    • The majority of Nannopterum brasilianum live there permanently.
    • Occasionally, in the warmer months, some people may venture north.


In the wild, they (Nannopterum brasilianum) typically lives between six and ten years, while individual lifespans might vary depending on predation and environmental circumstances. It’s possible that captive birds live longer lives.


Nannopterum brasilianum make a range of guttural croaks and grunts as part of their vocalizations. They are reported to make a variety of noises, frequently during courtship displays or interactions with other members of their colony.

Common Names in Different Languages

LanguageCommon Name
EnglishNeotropic Cormorant
SpanishCormorán Neotropical
FrenchCormoran vigua
ItalianCormorano neotropicale
DutchNeotropische aalscholver
RussianНеотропический баклан
Mandarin Chinese新热带鸬鹚 (Xīn rèdài lúcí)
Japaneseネオトロピックコーモラン (Neotoropikku kōmoran)


  1. loss of habitat as a result of urbanization and wetland degradation.
  2. Human interference during reproduction results in nest abandonment.
  3. Water body contaminants that impact the availability of prey.
  4. disputes involving fishing, where cormorants are occasionally seen as competitors.
  5. Food distribution and availability are impacted by climate change.
  6. Predation by invasive species on nests.
  7. collisions with electrical cables and other infrastructure.
  8. exploitation in some areas for customary purposes and feathers.
  9. exposure to toxins and pesticides.
  10. susceptibility of coastal environments to oil leaks.


  1. Q: Where do Neotropic Cormorants live?
    • In the American tropics and subtropics, Nannopterum brasilianum live in a variety of environments, such as interior waters, mangroves, and coastal regions.
  2. Q: Are Nannopterum brasilianummigratory birds?
    • Although mostly they are permanent inhabitants, some may relocate locally or northward in the warmer months.
  3. Q: What do they eat?
    • They mostly eat small fish, although they also eat shrimp, tadpoles, frogs, and aquatic invertebrates.
  4. Q: How do Nannopterum brasilianum hunt for food?
    • They use their feet to propel themselves underwater as they search for food. Additionally, they could herd fish into shallower waters by foraging in groups.
  5. Q: Are they endangered?
    • Nannopterum brasilianum are not classified as endangered as of January 2022. However, habitat loss and human activities may pose dangers to these species.
  6. Q: How do they build their nests?
    • They commonly build their stick nests in shrubs or trees a few meters above the ground or water. The platforms have a central depression.
  7. Q: What is the breeding behavior of Nannopterum brasilianum?
    • They breed in colonies and are monogamous, with both parents helping to incubate and feed the young.
  8. Q: Do Nannopterum brasilianum have any predators?
    • Potential risks include human disruptions and invasive animals preying on nests, though particular predators may differ depending on the area.
  9. Q: How long do they live?
    • They usually live between six and ten years in the wild, though individual lifespans could differ depending on a number of variables.
  10. Q: What is the conservation status of their?
    • Although local populations of Nannopterum brasilianum may experience difficulties as a result of habitat changes and human activity, the species is not thought to be globally threatened.

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