Notice for readers: On March 31, Neotropical Birds will be integrated into the new Birds of the World, a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth. Learn more at While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Stay tuned.

Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus

  • Order: Suliformes
  • Family: Phalacrocoracidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors needed...

We do not have a complete account for this species.

The summary below is an overview from The Birds of North America Online.

BNA Account Authors: Hobson, Keith A.

The Pelagic Cormorant, the smallest and most widely distributed of six cormor-ant species inhabiting the North Pacific, ranges from the Arctic waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas south through temperate waters along the North American Pacific Coast to Baja California and along the Asian coast to southern China. It is among the least gregarious or social of the cormorants, nesting on steep cliffs along rocky and exposed shorelines, either in loose colonies or far from nearest neighbors.

Although the Pelagic Cormorant is exclusively marine in habits, its name is misleading, since it prefers inshore areas. This species is a component of littoral communities and feeds primarily on solitary fish and inverebrates on the bottom. These and other aspects of its morphology and behavior qualify it as a member of the shag subfamily Leucocarboninae, according to Siegel-Causey (1988).

View the full account on The Birds of North America Online

In-depth, comprehensive species information and multimedia (subscription required).

Help author an account about this species from a Neotropical perspective.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute—we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more


© Gerrit Vyn

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: