Phalacrocorax pygmeus Pallas, 1773
Common names: Pygmy Cormorant [En], Cormoran pygmée [Fr], Dwergaalscholver [Nl], Zwergscharbe [De], Marangone minore [It], Cormorán pigmeo [Es], Βαλτοκόρακας, Λαγγόνα [Gr], Küçük karabatak [Tu]
IUCN status: LC (Least Concern)
Kastoria, KASTORIA ● Greece
Description: It is the smallest cormorant. The feathers of the body are dark brown, almost black. The head is lighter, with a quite short beak, slightly curved down. The tail is long. It has reddish patches on the head and neck during breeding period. There is no sexual dimorphism.
Biology: The species breeds between April and July in large mixed-species colonies, leaving the breeding grounds towards the end of August and returning between March and April (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The species is sedentary over much of its range with some populations migrating over short distances (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Throughout the year it normally feeds singly or in small groups (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Nelson et al. 2005). Diet consists predominantly of fish up to 15 cm long (del Hoyo et al. 1992).
They build the nest from sticks and reed in dense vegetation, in trees, shrubs, willows but sporadically in reed (on small floating islets). At the end of May, beginning of June, both parents incubate for 27–30 days, and nestlings become independent after 70 days. The young are fed by their parents with small fish and other aquatic animals (Kiss & Rekasi, 2002).
Habitat: The Pygmy Cormorants like the pools with plenty of vegetation, lakes and river deltas. They void the mountainous and cold and dry areas. Loves rice fields or other flooded areas where can be found shrubs and tree. During winter habituate also waters with higher salinity, in estuaries or on barrier lakes.
Distribution: The Pygmy Cormorant occupies an area from south-east of Europe (at east of Italy) and south-west of Asia, in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
At global scale it was estimated that the whole population of Pygmy Cormorants is 85.000-180.000 individuals (a study effectuated by Wetlands International in 2006) and 74-94% of total population lives in Europe. The biggest colony is in the Danube Delta.
Wikipedia, Pygmy Cormorant