Belongs to: grebes & divers

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Large dark bird of inland and coastal areas, often seen with wings outstretched to dry them after diving

Widespread and common resident, breeding around most of the British coast and increasingly inland also

Usually breed on cliffs and marine islands, but in Essex often breed in trees, starting at Abberton Reservoir in the 1980s


Goose-sized bird, dark glossy green (that looks black) with white face and large bill; 90 cm

Swims low in water with uptilted head, diving frequently for fish – capable of eating its own weight in a day

Flight strong and direct with neck and head stretched forward


Usually nest in colonies, in coastal areas on a mound of seaweed on a cliff; inland in twig nests in trees

One brood of 3-4 pale blue eggs, April – June

Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks, regurgitating fish brought back in their crop

© Owen Keen

© Owen Keen

© Owen Keen