Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Least Concern

Double-crested Cormorant (Nannopterum auritus)


French: Cormoran à aigrettes German: Ohrenscharbe Spanish: Cormorán orejudo

Carbo auritus


, 1831,

New Zealand; error = North America


Sometimes placed in genus Hypoleucos or Phalacrocorax, but classification here follows results of a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for the entire family#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. a. cincinatus (J. F. Brandt, 1837) – Aleutian Is (E from Unalaska) to Alexander Archipelago, in SE Alaska; winters S to British Columbia (SW Canada).
  • N. a. albociliatus Ridgway, 1884 – Vancouver I down coast to Gulf of California and inland in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California and Arizona.
  • N. a. auritus (Lesson, 1831) – E & C North America from Gulf of St Lawrence S to Cape Cod and W to Alberta and Utah; winters from middle of Atlantic coast to Gulf of Mexico.
  • N. a. floridanus (Audubon, 1835) – SE USA (North Carolina and Florida) S to Cuba and Yucatán Peninsula.
  • N. a. heuretus Watson et al., 1991 – San Salvador (S Bahamas).
  • Descriptive notes

    76–91 cm; 710–2100+ g; wingspan 114–137 cm. Breeding adult of nominate race has head, neck and body black glossed bluish green, the head and neck sometimes... read more


    Rather silent away from breeding colonies, but occasionally utters low guttural calls. Calls at... read more


    Occurs equally along coast or inland: affects sheltered marine waters, including estuaries, bays... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost exclusively fish: > 250 fish species from more than 60 families recorded in diet. Crustaceans, amphibians and insects... read more


    Timing of breeding season varies with latitude: for example, egg-laying during Dec to Jan at Salton Sea, California, but during late Apr to... read more


    Northern and inland populations migratory, although N Pacific birds only slightly so: race ... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Continental population estimated at 1–2 million birds in 1989–1995, including > 372,000 breeding pairs: the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Double-crested Cormorant (Nannopterum auritus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 August 2019).