Breeding-plumaged Neotropic Cormorants

2007 November 21
by David J. Ringer

GREENE CO., MO — Last Saturday, Fjord and I found several Neotropic Cormorants in full breeding plumage at Anahuac NWR, east of Houston. They looked really spiffy (see photo below), and I started wondering what they’re doing with breeding plumes in mid-November. Are they winter breeders, like certain raptors? Or do they acquire their breeding plumage in autumn, like many dabbling ducks? David Sibley’s illustration of breeding plumage is labeled “Apr-May.”

I searched the Texbirds mailing list archive and found scattered references to breeding-plumaged neotrops in October and November, and I found a couple of posts emphasizing that the species breeds (and shows breeding plumage) during the autumn months in southern Texas (for example, this post by John Arvin). However, on the Upper Texas Coast, I have seen neotrops on the nest with nestlings in April and May.

So is the breeding season long and/or staggered on the UTC? Or are the birds we saw post-breeding wanderers from farther south?

Do any of my readers have any information about plumages and breeding cycles of Neotropic Cormorants?

neotropic-cormorants-phalacrocorax-brasilianus.jpg

Breeding-plumaged Neotropic Cormorants have white, waxy-looking plumes protruding from their heads and necks, and they show fine white dots over their eyes and across their foreheads.

Related posts:

  1. Breeding raptors in Missouri
  2. Mexico’s Coronado Islands: Brown Boobies, cormorants, oystercatchers, and pinnipeds
  3. How do cormorants take off from the water?
  4. Counting Canvasbacks and cormorants
  5. Birding Louisiana’s southwest coast
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