Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Near Threatened

Guanay Cormorant (Leucocarbo bougainvilliorum)


French: Cormoran des Bougainville German: Guanoscharbe Spanish: Cormorán guanay
Other common names: Guanay Shag

Carbo Bougainvillii


, 1837,

Valparaíso, Chile


Sometimes placed in genus Phalacrocorax, but classification here follows results of a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for the entire family#R. Internal evidence from original description indicates that original spelling must be emended to the plural form#R, as name was explicitly dedicated to two sailors (“deux marins”). Monotypic.


Coasts of Peru to C Chile, with bulk of population off C Peru; also SC Argentina. Post-breeding dispersal N to Ecuador, occasionally to Colombia.

Descriptive notes

71–76 cm; male 2100–3222 g. Slender-bodied and long-billed. Adult has erectile crest on crown, while most of head, neck and back to uppertail-coverts are black... read more


Usually silent away from breeding colonies but quite vocal around nest and huge colonies may make a... read more


Marine. Feeds in open sea in cold waters of Humboldt Current. Breeds on headlands of mainland coast... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on pelagic schooling fish, not benthic species, unlike most other cormorants. Prey captured by pursuit-diving. The species and its... read more


Year-round, with marked peak in egg-laying during Nov/Dec. Forms very large, dense colonies, with up to 3 nests/m²; regularly breeds... read more


After breeding spreads N to Ecuador and S to Valdivia (SC Chile). Mass dispersal when food supply... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Formerly superabundant, numbering c. 30,000,000 birds; has declined due to effects of guano extraction and... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Guanay Cormorant (Leucocarbo bougainvilliorum). 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 18 July 2019).