Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Least Concern

Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger)


French: Cormoran de Vieillot German: Mohrenscharbe Spanish: Cormorán de Java
Other common names: Javanese Cormorant

Hydrocorax niger


, 1817,

East Indies = Bengal, India


In past, sometimes treated as a race of M. pygmaeus. Monotypic.


Pakistan and India S to Sri Lanka and E to Myanmar, S China and Indochina S to Java; dispersal associated with monsoons.

Descriptive notes

51–56 cm, 360–525 g; wingspan 90 cm. Breeding adult has black or brownish-black plumage, with small, often flattened, erectile crest on forecrown; in early... read more


Usually silent, except in vicinity of nest or roost. At nest, deep grunts and groans and low... read more


Chiefly occupies freshwater bodies in lowlands, including ponds, rivers, lakes, swamps, canals and... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small freshwater fish; also frogs and tadpoles. Feeds mainly by pursuit-diving. Sometimes fishes co-operatively.


Season variable with region, but mainly Jun–Aug. Colonial, sometimes nesting at high densities; often in company of other... read more


Basically sedentary; some movements related to local water conditions, including dispersal... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Frequent to abundant across much of range. Censuses in Jan 1991 produced 35,876 in India, 16,731 in Sri Lanka, and 5054 in Pakistan (... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger). 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 24 August 2019).