Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Least Concern

Neotropical Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)


French: Cormoran vigua German: Olivenscharbe Spanish: Cormorán biguá

Procellaria brasiliana

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

north-east Brazil


Sometimes placed in genus Hypoleucos. Long referred to as P. olivaceus, but brasilianus has priority#R; P. olivaceus thus a junior synonym. Proposed race chancho (Sonora, in NW Mexico) is synonymized with mexicanus, and hornensis (S Chile) with nominate. Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. mexicanus (J. F. Brandt, 1837) – S USA (S Arizona to Louisiana) S to Panama, also Bahamas and Cuba; populations above 27° N disperse towards S.
  • P. b. brasilianus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Panama and S throughout most of South America to Cape Horn.
  • Descriptive notes

    58–73 cm; 606–1814 g; wingspan 101 cm. Breeding adult has head, neck and most of body black with bluish or purplish sheen except line of white feathers... read more


    Utters low grunts and croaking sounds, similar to those made by a pig (Sus). Generally... read more


    Wide variety of wetlands, in fresh, brackish or salt water. Sheltered parts of coast, including... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small fish, crustaceans, frogs, tadpoles and aquatic insects. In Argentina, takes large amounts of fish, especially Aristromenidia... read more


    Breeds in all months of year, peak varying locally, sometimes coinciding with wettest months; May–Aug in USA. Colonial, sometimes in... read more


    Sedentary throughout most of breeding range, with some post-breeding dispersal. High-altitude... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and numerous. In high Andes, rare in N but becoming commoner from Peru S to NW Argentina; in Ecuador, census data from... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Neotropical Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus). 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 20 March 2018).