Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-61

Common name:

Neotropic Cormorant

Scientific name: Phalacrocorax Brasilianus
Date: 15 JuL 2013
Time: 6:35 PM
Length of time observed: about 30 min
Number: 1
Age: Adult?
Sex: Unknown
Location: Logan Fish Hatchery Pond, Logan
County: Cache
Distance to bird:  ~50 feet
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x42 binoculars, spotting scope, and SLR with 80-400mm lens
Weather: Sunny, hot.
Light Conditions: Direct light, mostly from the side. Bird was backlit in some postures and front-lit in others.
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Easily identified as a cormorant by color and shape. See "similar species" for separation from other North American cormorants.
see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None.
Behavior: Swimming and standing along a slow-moving slough that drains a spring.
Habitat: Habitat was slowly flowing water and a dry bank at the edge of a field.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:

The only expected cormorant species in this area is the Double-crested Cormorant. Several Double-crested Cormorants (DCCO) were present for direct side-by-side comparison both perched on land and swimming in the water. DCCO were eliminated by the dark, feathered lores of this bird, rather than bare orange skin; the relatively smaller, thinner bill of this bird; the much smaller size of this bird; and the longer tail of this bird, relative to its body size. I estimated in the field that this bird was about half the total mass of the DCCOs, although Sibley says their average mass is about 70% of the DCCO's. This bird also had a noticeably angular rear edge to the gular patch with a visible border of white feathering. The tail looks shorter than expected in some photos. Primarily, this is due to the angle of the photos: in life, the tail was obviously longer relative to the body than that of the DCCOs. In addition, one photo showed that the central tail feathers were shorter than the next-to-central retrices. I believe this is an indication that the tail feathers were still growing in from a molt, and that the tail was not as long as it will be when the molt is complete.

All other North American cormorants are eliminated by the orange throat skin of this bird, except for Great Cormorant, which is much larger than DCCO, whereas this bird was much smaller

Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen all North American cormorants, including extensive experience with Double-crested Cormorants. I have only seen Neotropic Cormorant on one other occasion, a pair of birds at Sandy Fishing Pond, Utah. See record 2010-16.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds, western edition.
Description from: Photos and memory
Observer: Ryan O'Donnell
Observer's address: 1098 Crescent Dr
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: First spotted by myself. Later the same day the bird was seen by Leah Lewis, Cullen Clark, and Mike Fish.
Date prepared: 15 Jul 2013
Additional material: Photos attached.
Additional_Comments: First county record. eBird checklist for this observation: