Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Brandt's Cormorant occupies the Pacific coast of North America, ranging from south-east Alaska (USA) to Baja California (Mexico) (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: coastally along Pacific coast from southern Alaska (very local, Prince William Sound and Hazy Island near Coronation Island) and Vancouver Island and Washington (small, local populations) south to Baja California, including Pacific coastal islands of Baja; local on some islands in the Gulf of California (San Pedro Martir, Salsipuedes, and Roca Blanca) (Johnsgard 1993). NON-BREEDING: mostly near nesting areas. Common to very abundant as a non-breeder in southern British Columbia (Campbell et al. 1990). Extends north to Prince Williams Sound, Alaska and to southern Baja California.

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Range

Coastal s Alaska to Baja California.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 89 cm

Weight: 2103 grams

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Type Information

Cotype for Phalacrocorax penicillatus
Catalog Number: USNM A2742
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): J. Townsend
Year Collected: 1836
Locality: Cape Disappointment, Pacific, Washington, United States, North America
  • Cotype: Audubon. 1838. Birds Of America (Folio). 4: pl. 412, fig 2.
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Cotype for Phalacrocorax penicillatus
Catalog Number: USNM A2742
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): J. Townsend
Year Collected: 1836
Locality: Cape Disappointment, Pacific, Washington, United States, North America
  • Cotype: Audubon. 1838. Birds Of America (Folio). 4: pl. 412, fig 2.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is strictly marine and is restricted to rocky coasts and islands, foraging over rocky substrates, sometimes over sand or mud, but also in mid-water. It mainly feeds on fish which it catches by pursuit-diving, and sometimes fishing co-operatively forming large aggregations. Laying occurs mainly from March to July, with individuals forming colonies sometimes alongside other seabirds. It nests on rocks, islands and sandy beaches, usually on slopes, headlands and cliff tops (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 2045 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 460 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 12.220 - 16.316
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.240 - 3.951
  Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 33.496
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.685 - 6.395
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 0.674
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 12.220 - 16.316

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.240 - 3.951

Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 33.496

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.685 - 6.395

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 0.674

Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169
 
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Comments: Mainly inshore coastal zone, especially in areas having kelp beds; also around some offshore islands; less commonly, inshore on brackish bays; in winter, mostly around sheltered inlets and other quiet waters (Palmer 1962, AOU 1983, Johnsgard 1993). Typically nests on flat or gently sloping surfaces on tops of rocky islands along coast, favoring protected leeward sides of islands; frequently nests with other sea birds; may sometimes use wider ledges of mainland cliffs. Nest is built on ground by both sexes, may be re-used in subsequent year.

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Depth range based on 2045 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 460 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 12.220 - 16.316
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.240 - 3.951
  Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 33.496
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.685 - 6.395
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 0.674
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 12.220 - 16.316

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.240 - 3.951

Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 33.496

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.685 - 6.395

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 0.674

Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169
 
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Resident throughout year near nesting areas, but ranges more widely when not breeding. Post-breeding dispersal from colonies on west coast of United States occurs in July and August as thousands move north to the waters of southern British Columbia and Puget Sound; a gradual movement southward begins in September and October, but at least 10,000 to 15,000 overwinter in Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and Juan de Fuca Strait (Campbell et al. 1990, Johnsgard 1993).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Feeds on small saltwater fishes, especially those at or near the bottom but also those throughout the water column (schooling and nonschooling species), and squid; primarily on fishes of no commercial value. Also feeds on crabs and shrimps. In the north, feeds more often over sand or mud bottoms than does the pelagic cormorant. See Johnsgard (1993) for further information.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80

Comments: Colonial nester along the Pacific Coast of North America. Sixty-six major colonies identified by Wallace and Wallace (1998).

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Global Abundance

10,000 - 100,000 individuals

Comments: Boekelheide et al. (1990, cited in Wallace and Wallace 1998) estimated worldwide population at 75,600. Previously, breeding population along coast of California, Washington, and Oregon was estimated at about 80,000 (mostly in California, especially Farallon Islands; Spendelow and Patton 1988); fewer than 50 pairs in Alaska (Lensink 1984) and small numbers in British Columbia (Vermeer and Sealy 1984). In California, at least 13 colonies include at least 1000 birds; average nesting population on Farallon Islands was 16,000 in the 1970s and 1980s. Perhaps 10,000-11,000 pairs along Pacific coast of Mexico (DeLong and Crossin, see Johnsgard 1993).

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General Ecology

Gathers in flocks in feeding areas. Male establishes territory in immediate area of nest. In winter in California, made 55-km round trips between roost and feeding area (see Johnsgard 1993). Increased sea surface temperatures, such as those associated with El Nino events, were correlated with decreases in nesting populations in Washington (Wilson 1991). Gulls commonly prey on eggs and chicks.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Surface dive

Dives from the surface of the water and chases prey under water. Grabs fish in bill, without spearing it.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 18 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Egg laying occurs mainly in June in British Columbia, late May and June in northern California, mid-April to early July in central California, and late February to mid-June in southern California (Johnsgard 1993). Both parents, in turn, incubate 3-6 (usually 3-4) eggs. Incubation lasts 28-32 days. Nestlings altricial. Fledging occurs at about 40-42 days. Single brooded but some lay replacement clutch if first clutch is lost. On Farallon Islands, females first bred at modal age of 2 years (mostly 2-5 years), males at 4 years (mostly 3-5 years); mate fidelity is low; the most successful individuals fledged 10-20 chicks over their lifetime; all adults skipped breeding at least one year during their reproductive lifetime; food availability affected many reproductive parameters; reproductive success varied considerably among years (Boekelheide and Ainley 1989).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Phalacrocorax penicillatus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 5 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

TCTTTACCTCATCTTCGGTGCCTGAGCCGGTATAGTCGGAACTGCCCTCAGCCTACTTATCCGTGCAGAGCTGGGCCAACCAGGGACTCTCCTAGGAGATGACCAAATCTACAACGTAATTGTCACTGCCCACGCTTTTGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTAATACCCATCATAATTGGAGGATTTGGAAACTGACTAGTTCCCCTCATAATCGGCGCTCCTGACATAGCATTCCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTCCTTCCGCCATCATTCCTTCTCTTATTAGCCTCCTCTACAGTAGAAGCAGGTGCAGGTACAGGATGAACTGTATACCCACCACTAGCTGGAAACCTTGCCCATGCTGGAGCCTCAGTCGACCTGGCCATCTTCTCCCTTCACCTGGCAGGAGTATCTTCAATCCTAGGAGCAATCAACTTTATCACAACTGCTATTAACATAAAACCCCCAGCTCTATCACAATACCAAACCCCACTATTCGTCTGATCTGTACTAATCACTGCAGTATTACTCCTACTCTCACTCCCAGTTCTCGCTGCCGGAATCACCATGCTCTTAACAGACCGAAACTTAAACACAACATTCTTTGACCCTGCTGGAGGAGGAGATCCAGTCCTATACCAACACCTATTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACCNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Phalacrocorax penicillatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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