Double-crested Cormorant Goes Fishing


I watched this Double-crested Cormorant surface with fish, one after another, for 30 minutes.


DSC_2000-1 21620

Double-crested Cormorant


It became a fun challenge, anticipating where s/he’d pop up with a possible fish.

And there were a lot of fish, I’d never seen a cormorant catch so many so quickly.

I missed many of them either completely or out-of-focus, but here’s four of the cormorant’s nice catches and my lucky shots.


Double-crested Cormorant


Cormorants can be flashy with their toss & flip to swallow the fish, but this one would just do a quick gulp.

No time for dramatics, there were more fish to be had!

As much as I tried, here’s the only sequence I lucked out on with that quick gulp.


Double-crested Cormorant


That belly had to be quite full!Β  πŸ˜‰



47 thoughts on “Double-crested Cormorant Goes Fishing

  1. A lovely capture Donna of the cormorant capturing the fish. I have probably mentioned how it looks like our Little Black Cormorant, except for the yellow face.

  2. These guys are fun to watch, especially when they are feeding themselves. Your captures are very precise. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, HJ! The cormorant knew I was standing there, it was a toss between leaving because of me or getting its belly filled. I think it quickly realized I was safe. πŸ™‚

  3. These are nice! I enjoyed the series. I like the big splash and the cormorant’s green eyes with the orange neck. After reading the other comments about the fish flopping in the gullet, I thought, “Yuck! not with my gag reflex!” If you get a chance ,check out the Audubon photography winners. The photos are stunning and one is an underwater photo of a Cormorant diving under water surrounded by fish.

    • Thank you, Jane, glad you enjoyed the series! Thanks for mentioning the Audubon photo winners, I too saw the DC Cormorant chasing the fish, that is an incredible capture!!

  4. Nice action photos, Donna. I sometimes wonder if cormorants (or other birds that swallow their prey whole) choke on their food. When watching the food bolus travel down the esophagus and make the entire neck bulge, it looks very uncomfortable. But then they are probably equipped with far more stretchable food pipes than we are!

    • Thank you, Tanja! I’ve not seen one choke on a fish but I have seen a fish stay ‘stuck’ for a long period of time, once with a Cormorant and another time with a Great Blue Heron. The Cormorant still had part of the tail hanging out of its mouth but it wasn’t going down, possibly it was ‘finned’ on an angle swallow? The GBH, oh my, it tried to swallow a huge fish for over 30 minutes, it looked so uncomfortable with it stuck half way down it’s neck. It just stood there, I’m sure trying to work its throat muscles. That fish finally went down! Quite amazing it did not choke!

      • Those instances sound very unpleasant, Donna. One thinks that they should have figured out that some prey is too large, but maybe hunger overrides any other “thoughts.” I hope never to have to perform a Heimlich maneuver on anybirdy.

  5. Nice catch both from the cormorant and you Donna! It is nice to get to know your cormorant: it is lighter than the one living in Finland. Nowadays it is common, but first cormorant bred in Finland in 1996 after which the numbers have risen steeply. The species’ Finnish breeding population was estimated at almost 24,000 in 2015 and it is still increasing. Luckily also the amount of White-tailed Eagle is increasing.

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