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Cormorant facts for kids

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Cormorants and shags
Cormorant-20070224-034.jpg
Little pied cormorant
Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Subclass:
Infraclass:
Neoaves
Order:
Suborder:
Sulae
Family:
Phalacrocoracidae

Reichenbach, 1850
Genus:
Phalacrocorax

Brisson, 1760

Cormorants are a family of seabirds. There are about 40 different species of Cormorants. In some areas, they are also known as shags.

Description

Cormorants range in size from as little as 45 cm (18 in) and 340 g (12 oz) to a maximum size 100 cm (40 in) and 5 kg (11 lbs). Most cormorants, including nearly all northern hemisphere species, have mainly dark feathers. Some southern hemisphere species are black and white. A few species are very colorful. Many species have areas of colored skin on the face. These areas can be bright blue, orange, red or yellow. They usually become more brightly colored in the breeding season. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes. Cormorants can dive for 4 minutes looking for food.

Habitat

Cormorants breed on rocky headlands and islands as well as near inland lakes, marshes and reservoirs. The birds spend the winter on coasts, estuaries, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

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