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Phalacrocorax atriceps

Imperial Cormorant

  • Order: Suliformes
  • Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Authors: Gómez Laich, Agustina

Phalacrocorax atriceps

Canal Chacao, Chile; 5 February 2007 © Pablo Caceres Contreras

The material in the following pages was contributed by Agustina Gómez Laich and is based on the work of a Seabird Ecology Research Group that has its headquarters in the Centro Nacional Patagónico (CONICET), Argentina.

The Imperial Cormorant, or Shag, is a marine species of cold southern South American waters. This species can be recognized by its blackish upperparts and white underparts, as well as blue irides and yellow caruncles in front of the eyes. Often viewed swimming along coastal waterways and flying in flocks (sometimes with other species of cormorant), this species breeds in small colonies on coastal areas and low islands. The Imperial Cormorant is part of a large complex of marine shags of the Southern Ocean; species-level relationships in the group are still being resolved. 

Recommended Citation

Gómez Laich, Agustina. 2012. Imperial Cormorant (Phalacrocorax atriceps), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Coastal waters
  • Foraging Strata:Water (below surface)
  • Foraging Behavior:Surface dive
  • Diet:Fish
  • Sociality:Mixed Flocks
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: 2 - 3
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern