Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Least Concern

Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus)


French: Cormoran pygmée German: Zwergscharbe Spanish: Cormorán pigmeo

Pelecanus pygmeus

[sic] Pallas

, 1773,

Caspian Sea


In past, sometimes considered conspecific with M. niger. Emendation of specific name is required on basis of correct Latin. Monotypic.


Discontinuously from SE Europe and Turkey E to region of Aral Sea and Tajikistan, S to Israel and Iraq; formerly also N Africa. N populations winter in S part of the range.

Descriptive notes

45–55 cm; 565–870 g; wingspan 80–90 cm. Breeding adult has short erectile crest on forecrown, plumage mostly black at start of breeding season, head, neck... read more


Croaking and grunting sounds at colony. Otherwise virtually silent.


Lowland bodies of fresh water, including lakes, slow-flowing rivers, deltas and other wetlands.... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fish up to 15 cm long, average weight 15 g. At Danube Delta mostly fish of family Cyprinidae, e.g. rudd (Scardinius... read more


Laying Apr–Jul. Forms large colonies, often with P. carbo, egrets and herons. Stick nest lined with finer material, placed... read more


Partially migratory; most movements over short distances, and species sedentary over large areas.... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Formerly considered Near Threatened. Has large, if fragmented, range, within which population appears to be increasing. According to... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus). 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 17 July 2019).