Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus)

I took this photo yesterday while on a cold bike ride on Ada Ciganlija. The bird is an immature or young Great Cormorant.

Note – Thanks for reader Milan R., I misidentified the bird as an immature Great Cormorant. He pointed out that the bird is an adult Pygmy Cormorant and that Ada Ciganlija is an important roosting site for the species. It can be identified by its mostly brown and black color, long tail, and light throat patch.

A Pygmy Cormorant Perches on a Swimming Cage at Ada Ciganlija - December 23, 2008

A Pygmy Cormorant Perches on a Swimming Cage at Ada Ciganlija - December 23, 2008

They were on the swimming beach there were perhaps up to 100 of them. Many were catching small fish. They would dive under the water and come up moments later with fish in their beak. A flock of them were resting on the swimming cages when I took this photo. Of course I had my hands full with Ocean and Oliver and I couldn’t take the necessary time to get a better photo. As with all the birds in my blog, I hope to get another photo.

According to Bird Life International, the species is making a comeback after habitat loss lowered population numbers in the 1990’s. It does well in the Balkans and the Danube has the largest breeding populations.

This is the bird the Chinese use to catch fish. They tie a string around their necks to prevent them from swallowing. In Norse mythology it is said that the cormorants are the spirits of people who were lost at sea. They go to the island of Utrost and the only way they can visit their village is in the form of a cormorant.

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