Guanay Cormorant Phalacrocorax bougainvillii

  • Order: Suliformes
  • Family: Phalacrocoracidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Mark A. Baran and Michael G. Harvey


Conservation Status

The Guanay Cormorant is listed as Near Threatened BirdLife International 2010) due to its decline in recent decades.

Effects of human activity on populations

The Guanay Cormorant was valued as a producer of guano for fertilizer. It was called the “billion dollar bird” as its resource could be extracted with little care and feeding cost, simply the cost of protection (Murphy 1936, Johnson and Goodall 1965). For years, vultures and even condors were shot on sight by guards on the islands (Duffy 1983d).

The anchoveta fishery, considered one of the richest in the world, likely has contributed to the decline in cormorants. Duffy (1983b) found there to be a strong negative correlation between the anchoveta fishery and annual cormorant population increases. Additionally, the anchoveta population completely crashed in 1971 due to overfishing and El Niño, bringing down cormorant numbers (Duffy 1983b).

Recommended Citation

Baran, M. A. and M. G. Harvey (2011). Guanay Cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.