Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-faced Cormorant

Red-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax urile) by Ian

Red-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax urile) by Ian

Newsletter 03-10-2009

Cormorants don’t often make it as Bird of the Week. People, particularly fishermen, mostly say or think “Uggh” when you say “cormorant” and even birders probably just tick them off without pausing in silent awe at their beauty. Cormorant, in general, lack style, hence the unflattering expression “like a shag on a rock”.

Well, here’s one that I think makes the grade. I particularly wanted to see Red-faced Cormorants when I was in Alaska last June. I wasn’t disappointed, particular when I got close to nesting birds on the cliffs of St Paul Island, and I give them high marks for their striking red and blue facial patterns, double crests, and startlingly iridescent plumage, worthy of some tropical wonder like a Bird of Paradise.

Red-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax urile) by Ian

Red-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax urile) by Ian

You have to go out of your way to see them, too. In North America, they occur only in southern Alaska, the Aleutians and the islands of the Bering Sea, though they are common within their restricted range, which extends across the Bering Sea to eastern Siberia and as far south as northern Japan.

On the website, I’ve been concentrating on updating galleries and indices to the latest format. One of the aims of this is to make it easier to navigate from one family to the next. I’m doing this through Previous and Next Family links on the top level (usually Global) thumbnail pages for each family (though not, at the moment, the lower Australian, Old World and New World thumbnail pages). This is progressing well. It is now possible to navigate through all the non-passerine families and I hope to fill the remaining gaps in the passerines (perching birds) soon. So, you can start at the first family, Cassowaries and Emus (http://www.birdway.com.au/casuariidae/index.htm) and follow the Next Family links all the way through 70 families as far as the New World Flycatchers (http://www.birdway.com.au/tyrannidae/index.htm) where the trail currently peters out with the New World Antbirds.

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

The Cormorant is found in the list of unclean birds that the Israelites were not to eat.

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

See Also:
Cormorant page
Birds of the Bible – Cormorant
Cormorant Photos
Cormorant Videos
Phalacrocoracidae – Cormorants, shags