1526. Phalacrocorax carbo.
The Large Cormorant.
Pelecanus carbo, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 216 (1766). Phalacrocorax carbo, Pallas, Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. ii, p 297 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 496; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 234 ; Doig, ibid. p. 469; Hume, Cat. no. 1005; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 364; Legge, Birds Ceyl. pp. 1182, 1223; Sadly, Ibis, 1881, p. 594; Reld, S.F. x, p. 87; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 231 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 438 ; Hume & Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 352; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 270; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 304 ; Bulkley, op. cit. vii, p. 544. Graculus albiventer, Tickell, J. A. S. B. xi, p. 463 (1842). Graculus carbo, Blyth, Cat. p. 298; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 861 ; Hume, S. F. i, p. 289; Adam, ibid. p. 403; Oates, S. F. iii, p. 349; v, p. 169 ; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 33 ; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 377.
Ghogur, Pan-kowa, Jal-kowa, H.; Tin-gyi, Burm. These names are used for all species of Cormorants. Wadda Silli, Sind; Bonta-kaki, Tel.
Coloration. Adults are black, glossed with dull purplish or green : a white band from eye to eye across the throat, forming a broad border to the naked gular pouch; a small longitudinal pointed nuchal crest; feathers of the upper back, scapulars, and wing-coverts with broad brownish bronze centres and black margins, the quills brownish black ; tail-feathers dull black.
In the breeding-season a large patch of snowy-white appears on each flank, and the plumage of the head and upper neck, with the exception of the crest, is interspersed with a mass of long silky, almost hair-like white plumes, which often conceal the shorter black feathers. These white feathers are shed after the breeding-season.
Young birds of the year are dull brown above, with blackish margins to the feathers of the upper back, the scapulars, and wing-coverts ; the middle of the throat, the whole breast, and the middle of the abdomen white. There is a gradual passage from this to the adult plumage, which is only assumed in the fourth year, the upper parts, at a period when there is still much white or whitish on the lower plumage, resembling those in adult birds.
Upper mandible and tip of lower dark brown, remainder of lower mandible white or pinkish ; irides green ; eyelids and lores dusky yellow : skin of throat bright yellow, or black spotted with yellow ; skin under eye orange ; legs and claws black. Tail-feathers 14.
Length 32; tail 7 ; wing 13 ; tarsus 23 ; bill from gape 3.75.. There is considerable variation, and males as a rule are larger than females.
Distribution. Almost throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia, and on the Atlantic coast of North America. This Cormorant occurs on the coasts, large rivers, and larger pieces of fresh water throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma.
Habits, &c The Common Cormorant, though often seen fishing singly, generally roosts in companies, and often associates in large flocks. It breeds in colonies, and the nests and eggs have been taken in October by Oates in Lower Pegu, in January by Captain Horace Terry near Bellary, Madras Presidency, and by Scrope Doig on the Eastern Nara, Sind, in November. The nests are, in India, generally on trees growing in water, sometimes on rocks, elsewhere on tea-cliffs. The eggs, 4 to 6, or even 7 in number, are very elongated ovals, measuring about 2.5 by 1.6.