White-breasted Cormorants at San Diego Zoo

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

Update: I have seen these before at Lowry Park Zoo – My mistake :(

We see Double-crested Cormorants very frequently here in Florida. At the San Diego Zoo, we were able to see the White-breasted Cormorants. These are another one of the Lord’s neat creations which He has given them just what they need for catching their prey. They belong to the Phalacrocoracidae – Cormorant, Shag family of which has 41 species.

Cormorants and shags are medium-to-large birds, with body weight in the range of 0.35–5 kilograms (0.77–11.02 lb) and wing span of 45–100 centimetres (18–39 in). The majority of species have dark feather. The bill is long, thin and hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes. All species are fish-eaters, catching the prey by diving from the surface. They are excellent divers, and under water they propel themselves with their feet with help from their wings; some cormorant species have been found to dive as deep as 45 metres.

The White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) is much like the widespread great cormorant and if not a regional variant of the same species, is at least very closely related. It is distinguished from other forms of the great cormorant by its white breast and by the fact that subpopulations are freshwater birds. Phalacrocorax lucidus is not to be confused with the smaller and very different endemic South Australian black-faced cormorant, which also is sometimes called the white-breasted cormorant. (Wikipedia)

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) Sign SD Zoo by Lee

The sign at the San Diego Zoo shows this bird as a sub-species of the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), but the I.O.C. lists it as the White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus). “The white-breasted cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) is a member of the cormorant family Phalacrocoracidae. Its taxonomic status has been under discussion for some decades and several questions still have not been definitively settled. Phalacrocorax lucidus sometimes is treated as a subspecies of the great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo lucidus. ” (Wikipedia) That helps explain the discrepancy.

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

I especially liked the chin on this cormorant. Thought is was interesting and different from our usual Cormorants. Also, this was a first time we have seen this White-breasted Cormorant in any of the zoos we have visited. So it gets added to the Life List of All Birds We Have Seen

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

“As its name suggests, the 80–100 cm long white-breasted cormorant has a white neck and breast when adult, and the white area tends to increase as the bird becomes more mature. In other respects it is a large cormorant generally resembling the great cormorant.”

Here are the few photos that I took of these birds.


But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. (Isa 34:11)

And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, (Deuteronomy 14:17 KJV)

Cormorants are one the birds mentioned in the Bible. See Birds of the Bible – Cormorant

I see that both my Life List of All Birds We Have Seen and my Birdwatching Trips need some work. That ought to keep my busy this summer while most of the birds took off to their northern nesting grounds, that and trying to work on vacation photos.



Please leave a Comment. They are encouraging.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s