Chordates • Earth.com

Double-crested cormorant

(Phalacrocorax auritus)

Description

The double-crested cormorant is a large waterbird with a stocky body,long neck,medium-sized tail,webbed feet,and a medium-sized hooked bill.It has a body length of between 70–90 cm (28–35 in) long,with a wingspan of between 114–123 cm (45–48 in).Double-crested cormorants weigh between 1.2–2.5 kg (2.6–5.5 lb).Males and females do not display sexual dimorphism.This species has dark-colored plumage with bare super-loral skin and gular skin that is yellow or orange.An adult in breeding plumage will be mostly black with the back and coverts being a dark grayish towards the center.Nuptial crests,for which the species is named,are either white,black or a mix of the two.These are located just above the eyes with the bare skin on the face of a breeding adult being orange.A non-breeding adult will lack the crests and have more yellowish skin around the face.The bill of the adult is dark-colored.The double-crested cormorant is very similar in appearance to the larger great cormorant,which has a more restricted distribution in North America,mainly on the Canadian maritime provinces;it can,however,be separated by having more yellow on the throat and the bill.The plumage of juvenile double-crested cormorants is more dark gray or brownish.The underparts of a juvenile are lighter than the back with a pale throat and breast that darkens towards the belly.As a bird ages,its plumage will grow darker.The bill of a juvenile will be mostly orange or yellowish.

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:
Class: Aves
Order:Suliformes
Family:Phalacrocoracidae
Genus:Phalacrocorax
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