Pygmy Cormorant

Pygmy Cormorant

Name: Pygmy Cormorant

Resident of Europe, Asia, particularly in the Middle East and central regions. In Europe (except in the Volga delta), it breeds only on the Balkan Peninsula, predominantly around the Danube River and its delta and the Black Sea Coast.

Distinctive features:
Often can be seen with their wings spread against the sun and the wind to dry them as their feathers get wet during the times when they dive for fish.
During the breeding season, adults have small white feather tufts on the head and neck and under parts, otherwise it is a green-glossed black bird.
The sexes are similar in appearance but juveniles are duller and browner.

Locations in Bulgaria:
The Pygmy Cormorant can be observed in many different places but mostly along the riverside of the Danube (especially around Belene Island). The Burgas Lakes are also a very important place for this species. I It also inhabits various waters in the countryside and around the Black Sea coast.

Marshes, lakes, artificial lakes, rivers and canals. It prefers freshwater basins, where it can find its favorite food – fish. The water basin for feeding and breeding should have plenty of reeds or bulrush.

Latest data from the country indicates between 100 and 500 breeding couples in Bulgaria. During the cold winter months, their number increases as the country is a good shelter for many birds from more northerly latitudes. The Total number estimated in winter is approximately 16,000 birds. At Burgas Lake, their numbers are over 10,000 birds.

Nature conservation status:
Although it is considered as Least Concern worldwide, in Bulgaria it is included as Endangered in the national Red Data Book. The main reasons for the disappearance of the Pygmy Cormorant are poaching and deterioration of breeding, wintering and resting habitats.

Favorite hobby:
Feeding and resting. The view of Pygmy Cormorants resting on reeds is amazing. After feeding, they visit their favorite places amongst the reeds or stay on tree trunks  near water ,where they spread their wings against the sun and the wind. Thus, they dry themselves and rest at the same time. They catch their food by diving. Their diet includes fish, different crustaceans and small mammals, like water rats.