Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2010-16
|Scientific name:||Phalacrocorax brasilianus|
|Date:||25 Apr 2010|
|Length of time observed:||44 minutes|
|Location:||Sandy Fishing Pond|
|Distance to bird:||Estimated 20 yards|
|Optical equipment:||Nikon 20x spotting scope, Nikon 10x42 Monarch ATB binoculars, Nikon D80 with 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens.|
|Light Conditions:||Direct overhead light.|
|Description: Size of bird:||Noticeably smaller than a Double-crested Cormorant|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:||Cormorant shape|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:||Dark brown to blackish|
|(Description:) Bill Type:||Cormorant bill|
Field Marks and
Please see "Similar species," below.
|Song or call & method of delivery:||None.|
|Behavior:||Resting and occasionally preening on a small island in the pond. Did not leave this position in the 44 minutes of observation.|
|Habitat:||A small pond along the Jordan River that has been stocked with trout.|
were they eliminated:
The only other cormorant that is likely in this area is the very common
Double-crested Cormorant, but all species of cormorants can be eliminated by a
combination of features.
Size: Small for a cormorant, visibly smaller than Double-crested Cormorants. Size alone eliminates all other North American cormorants.
Proportions: Very long-tailed, with the tail almost equalling the length of head and neck, especially while the neck was in the relaxed position (i.e. not outstretched).
Color pattern: Overall dark brownish; not yet in black breeding plumage, but a pale border to the gape could be discerned. No pale flank patches.
Lores: Brown and feathered, indicating Neotropic Cormorant, not yellow and bare as in young Double-crested Cormorants.
Bill color: Orange at base, blending through brown to gray at the tip. Not black, which also helps eliminate several species such as Pelagic Cormorant and Brandt's Cormorant.
Gape: Pointed, helping to further eliminate Double-crested.
Scapulars and coverts: Pointed, helping to further eliminate Double-crested and supporting Neotropic.
this & similar species:
|This is my first observation of Neotropic Cormorants. I have seen hundreds or thousands of Double-crested Cormorants throughout North America, plus dozens to hundreds of Pelagic and Brandt's Cormorants in California, Oregon, and Washington.|
|References consulted:||None at the time of observation. Sibley Guide to Birds was consulted in the write-up.|
|Description from:||Notes taken at time of sighting|
|Observer:||Ryan P. O'Donnell|
|Observer's address:||1098 Crescent Dr|
|Observer's e-mail address:||Ryan.ODonnell@usu.edu|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||Leah Waldner and Craig Fosdick observed the birds with me in the field. Others had previously seen and reported these birds on the Utah Birdtalk/Birdnet listserve, which prompted our visit.|
|Date prepared:||27 Apr 2010|