Cormorant conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth.

Cormorant conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth.

On any day, at any time you are sure to find a cormorant conference in full swing, doing a balancing act on Bird Rock along the beachfront, Port Elizabeth. Why do cormorants often stand in the sun with their wings spread out to dry? They have less preen oil than other birds so their feathers can get soaked rather than shedding water like a duck’s; wet feathers probably make it easier for cormorants to hunt underwater with agility and speed. We find them rather comical to observe, they seem to be packed with ‘attitude.’ The white-breasted cormorant in particular seems to look wrecked and jagged!

The Cape cormorant is a bird endemic to the southwestern coasts of Africa. It breeds from Namibia south to the southern Cape Province. In the nonbreeding season, it may be found as far north as the mouth of the Congo, and also extends up the east coast of South Africa as far as Mozambique. In the 1970s the breeding population was estimated as over 1 million in Namibia alone. However, the IUCN now classifies it as “Endangered” due to a very rapid decline in the population over the last three generations. The Cape cormorant is an almost entirely glossy black bird, though in breeding condition it has a purplish tinge and a few white plumes on the head, neck, and cloacal areas. Its gular skin ( throat skin) is a deep orangey yellow; unusually for a cormorant, its lores are feathered. ( the lore is the region between the eyes and nostrils of birds, reptiles, and amphibians) The bird’s wing is about 240–280 mm in extent, and it weighs 800-1,600 grams, with little sexual dimorphism. They commonly forage in flocks, taking schooling fish from mid-water, such as pilchards, anchovies, and sand eels. Its prey are typically much smaller than those of the sympatric bank cormorant. Their major predators are black-backed jackals, which take the occasional adult while it is roosting, and nest-site predators such as great cormorants, eastern great white pelicans, and kelp gulls.

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_cormorant

 

bird rock, port elizabeth

Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth

Always a seagull around

Always a seagull around

keeping busy doing nothing

Keeping busy doing nothing

cormorant conference on bird rock, port elizabeth

Cormorant Conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth

getting up close and personal with the cormorants

Getting up close and personal with the cormorants

Not quite a board meeting

Not quite a board meeting

fishing break

Fishing break