Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2007-26

Common name:

Neotropic Cormorant

Scientific name: Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Date: 08-31-07
Time: 09:30
Length of time observed: 30 minutes initially, 1 to 2 hours total
Number: 1
Age: juvenile
Location: Quichapa Lake
County: Iron
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 1770 m
Distance to bird: 100-500 m
Optical equipment: Zeiss 85 T Diascope (20 - 60x)
Weather: Clear and calm
Light Conditions: morning, full sunlight
Description:        Size of bird: See description below
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Overall, large heavy-bodied, dark bird with long neck, relatively long, stiff tail, and long, strongly hooked bill. Overall dark chocolate brown including wings, back, tail, breast and neck. Breast dark brown and slightly mottled with lighter brown. Head relatively small, with dark eye (not obvious on face). Yellowish-orange gular patch evident at base of bill and below eye. Loral area dark and bill long, thin with dark gray upper mandible and lighter lower mandible. In flight, head slightly elevated above plane of the body and tail relatively long and approximately the same length as neck and head.

There were approximately 100 cormorants present on Lake Quichapa, therefore this bird was often observed in close proximity with Double-crested Cormorants, both perched, swimming, and in flight. Smaller overall size very obvious, approximately 2/3rds to ¾ths the size of nearby DC Cormorants, with thinner, leaner build. DC Cormorants with a proportionally shorter tail (less than a third of their body length, whereas this bird s tail was relatively long and over half it s body length). Belly and breast much darker than typical juvenile DC cormorants, and slightly darker than dark juvenile DC Cormorants. Gular patch much less obvious than DC cormorants, more yellow (not as orange), and reduced to the area at the base of bill and below the eye. At the long distances observed, the eye of this bird was not as obvious on face due to dark feathered loral area, whereas extensive gular patch and orange facial skin on DC Cormorants offset their eyes and made them more noticeable. Also had a proportionally smaller head and bill than nearby DC Cormorants.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: observed perched, flying, and swimming, often in close proximity to Double-crested Cormorants.
Habitat:  inland basin lakebed, flooded in Jan. 2005 and gradually dropping since.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
See description above for comparison with Double-crested Cormorants.

There are no inland vagrant records of other North American cormorant species.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've observed Neotropic Cormorants many times in Arizona and Texas
References consulted: Sibley's Birds of N.A.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: 3505 West 290 North, Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: none
Date prepared: 09/01/07
Additional material: Photos
Additional Comments: Note on photos. Due to the long distances involved with viewing the bird, the photos are only helpful in showing overall shape, breast color, and most importantly size relative to DC Cormorants. Photos were taken with a Nikon D80 camera (35 mm lens) handheld through a Zeiss Diascope zoomed to 60x.