Common Name

Scientific Name

Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus, occurs in much of North America, wintering south to Belize. It is uncommon and localized in summer as a breeder in northern Utah, occurs throughout the state as a migrant, and is rare in Utah during mild winters. The habitat of this bird is ocean coasts, bays, lakes, and rivers. Its diet consists mainly of schooling fishes, but rarely includes other small vertebrates and aquatic invertebrates.

Nests of double-crested cormorants are constructed six to 150 feet up in trees that are near water, or on cliff ledges overlooking water; nesting is frequently in colonies. Usually there are three or four eggs, rarely as few as two or as many as seven, and exceptionally as many as nine. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 25 to 29 days. The young are tended by both parents for 35 to 42 days before permanently leaving the nest. They become independent at about ten weeks of age.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds. 2nd ed. Academic, San Diego. 347 pp.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.