This large bird is about 29 to 36 inches long and has a wingspan of about 4.5 feet. The adult summer plumage of the double-crested cormorant is wholly black with a greenish gloss. This species differs from the Brandt’s cormorant by its slightly larger size, bright orange facial skin and
yellow gular pouch. This bird also has bright turquoise eyes, a long, thin neck and
a slightly hooked beak. In flight, it carries its head on its crooked neck.
The double-crested cormorant eats shellfish and other fish such as herring, flounder, eel and
wrasse. To feed, the male or female will dive 5 to 25 feet under water
to catch its prey and then bring it up to the surface to eat it or take it back to the nest. Double-breasted cormorants build their large nests on rocky shores along the coast of Baja
using sticks, kelp and seaweed. The female lays between three and five chalky, pale blue eggs. The incubation period lasts five to eight weeks, and the young become independent at 10 weeks of age but do not leave the nest until two weeks later.
Header Credit: Mike Hillman