Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Least Concern

Japanese Cormorant (Phalacrocorax capillatus)


French: Cormoran de Temminck German: Japankormoran Spanish: Cormorán japonés
Other common names: Temminck's Cormorant

Carbo capillatus

Temminck and Schlegel

, 1849,



Name P. filamentosus is a junior synonym. Probably closely related to P. carbo. Monotypic.


Coasts of NE Asia from Russian Far East and Sea of Japan to Sakhalin and S Kuril Is, and also S to Japan, Korea and NE China. In winter can be found off E coast of China as far S as Taiwan.

Descriptive notes

81–92 cm; male 3000–3350 g, female 2300–2700 g; wingspan 152 cm. Breeding adult blackish with noticeable greenish or greenish-blue gloss, nape more or less... read more


Usually silent away from breeding colonies. Calls at nest include a low “guarr”. In general, quite... read more


Marine, occupying rocky coasts and islands; rarely found inland.

Food and feeding

Mostly fish, captured by pursuit-diving. Generalist species; three-year Japanese study showed that diet composition and foraging behaviour... read more


Laying May–Jul in Japan. Colonial, sometimes alongside P. carbo and herons. Nests on cliffs or rocks, often on flat tops.... read more


Dispersive. In Japan winters in warm regions; locally common during winter in Honshu and N Kyushu;... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population is estimated to number c.25,000–100,000 individuals. Locally common in Japan, especially on Hokkaido,... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Jutglar, F., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Japanese Cormorant (Phalacrocorax capillatus). 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 23 August 2019).