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Taxonomy conform IOC World Bird List


  • Palearctic, Australasia, Oriental Region, ne North America, n Africa : worldwide in temperate and tropical zones, coastal and inland, except only nw coast of Africa and in West Hemisphere nw North Atlantic coast only


  • P. c. carbo - coastal North Atlantic: w Greenland, w Europe and e Canada to Maine (ne USA, w North Atlantic) | to Iberian Peninsula (ec North Atlantic) and Delaware (wc North Atlantic)
  • P. c. sinensis - inland c Europe to n, s, India and Sri Lanka to ne Russia, ne China and Korean Peninsula, s to Turkey, c Asia and n Mongolia; disjunctly sc Cambodia and s Vietnam, ne Borneo
  • P. c. hanedae - coastal and inland Japan: Hokkaido to Kyushu (n to s Japan)
  • P. c. maroccanus - coastal nw Africa: Morocco to Mauretania
  • P. c. novaehollandiae - inland and coastal Australasia: Australia, North, South, Stewart and Chatham is. (e of South I.; New Zealand), Rennell (s Solomon Is.) and Grande Terre (New Caledonia) | to Trans-Fly (sc New Guinea)


Large blackish bird (reaches a length of over 90 centimeters = approximately 36 inches) with a long thick neck. Heavy bill.

Adult breeding :

Mostly black (in full sunlight they appear to have a greenish gloss).

White patch on the thighs during the early breading season.

White marks on the head and neck.

Adult non-breeding :

Similar to adult in breeding plumage. Lacking the white patches on thighs however. The white part on throat is way duller and greenish gloss on the the dark plumage is less distinct compared to birds in breading season plumage.

Juvenile :

Darkbrown upper parts and varying white coloring at belly.

Intermediate (between juvenile and adult) :

The plumage gets more dark and glossy and the white coloring on the belly disappears.

**Sound : **

Usually mute but known for producing various sounds within their breeding colonies.

**Habitat : **

Sea, lakes, and even small ditches.

Oftenly seen sunbathing with spread wings to dry them. When leaving the colony they can be seen flying in lines towards their fishing areas. Sometimes hunting groups consist large amounts of birds that collaborate actively to catch their prey (fish) as efficient as possible. The fish is generally eaten beneath the water surface.

Translation (Dutch to English) by: Julian Overweg. Parts of the original descriptions that only refer to the Dutch situation are left out.

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Updated at: 2024-02-21 16:46:35
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External links



adult breeding

adult non-breeding



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