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Flightless Cormorant

Flightless Cormorant
Photo Information
Copyright: Selen Ediger (SelenE) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Hoya UV 77mm
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Endangered, Birds of Ecuador [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-27 4:21
Viewed: 5081
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Flightless Cormorant
Nannopterum harrisi

A couple in their nest (made from seaweed) on lava rocks in Fernandina Island...

Endemic (found only in Galapagos)
Red List Status: Endangered

The Flightless Cormorant is a cormorant native to the Galapagos Islands, and an example of the highly unusual fauna there. It is unique in that it is the only cormorant that has lost the ability to fly.
With only 1500 estimated individuals, it is one of the world's rarest birds and is the subject of an active conservation programme. (wikipedia)

*The only cormorant found in the islands , the flightless cormorant is a(95cm) dark brown-to-black bird. Aptyl named owing to its complete inability to fly. Its wings are no more than vestigial appendages which appear to serve no useful purpose. Unmistakable when seen hanging its stubby wings out to dry after coming ashore. When in the water, the body is almost entirely submerged with just the snake-like head and neck visible. Adults are black above and dark brown below, but look completely black when wet. Juveniles are completely black. They have large, black-webbed feet with very short sturdy black legs. The eyes are brilliant turquoise and the bill is long and strong , with a pronounced hook at the tip. The males are noticeably larger than the females.

The flightless cormorant feeds on small fish, eels and octopus which it catches within 100m of the shore. It dives from the surface with a jack-knife movement and uses only its large and powerful webbed feet to pursue its prey.

Flightless cormorants have an elaborate courtship ritual which normally starts in the water with an aquatic dance. The necks are held in a snake-like pose known as ‘snake encking’ and the birds swim back and forth past each other. The dance is continued on land and a large bulky nest is made of seaweed , which is largely brought by the male and presented to the female as part of the courtship ritual. The nest is added to by the male, which brings more seaweed when he takes over the incubation. Most eggs are laid between may and october.

Incubation takes about 35 days and initially both parents feed the young. If however the food supply is good, the female may leave and mate with another male, while the frist male continues to look after and feed the young, for up to 9 months.

Best viewed: Fernandina- Punta Espinosa; Isabela- Urvina Bay, Punta Moreno to Punta Gracia.

Source: Wildlife of the Galapagos
Julian Fitter,Daniel Fitter,David Hosking
Princeton Pocketguides, ISBN 0-691-10295-3

Exposure Program: Manual
Exposure Time: 1/200
F-Stop: f/5.6
ISO Speed Ratings: 200
Focal Length: 250 mm (full frame)
Date Taken: 2007-04-27 09:34
Metering Mode: Partial

Jamesp, Kathleen, PaulH, smitha, JoseMiguel, gracious, kjpweb, earthtraveler, Alex99, fartash, jrobertop, rcrick, rousettus, pablominto, Argus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-11-27 4:25]

Hi Selen

A great shot of two of my favourite birds. Good POV with great eye contact.


Hi Selen,
Beautiful photo,congratulation,
Best regards,

Hi Selen.
Wow, flightless cormorant, interesting notes. Excellent sharpness and detail and a beautiful moment captured of these two. Beautifully exposed, wonderful,

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-11-27 4:53]

Hi Selen,
what a great moment you've caught here. Super detail and excellent DOF...an interesting subject, i hope they are still around for a long time to come yet.

Hello selen,
Excellent shot of the flightless Cormorant pair nesting.Good details, sharpness, exposure and POV. Very informative notes too. Never knew such a species existed.Thanks for sharing tis picture.

Hi Selene,
Magnificent capture of this rare and unique bird!
I like the scene and poses you managed to catch in this picture.
Light produced very clear details on its bodies, and plumage.
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

Estupendo retrato, con una nitidez muy bien lograda.
Bellos colores y contrastes.
Saludos, JL.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-11-27 7:00]

Great shot of these two endangered birds.
This would be a great photo for a conservation act to protect these birds because they both look sad and vulnerable.
Extremely sharp with great details.
Nice lighting aswell.
Well done Selen,

Merhaba Selen,
Very good size posting to enjoy the closeness of these beautiful birds!
total sharpness, vivid colour and so much details especially the blue eyes!
well composed and a good useful notes to understand!
all the best

Good shot of these cormorants! Weird that they developed into being flightless. You managed a great intimate and emotional shot! well done! Cheers, Klaus

Greetings Selen,
Lovely composition of this couple.
Very good detail and good results with the difficult light.
Great POV

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-11-27 8:44]

Hi Selen,
Wonderful shot of these Cormorant pair having a good time in bright sunlight. Very neat and sharp details on their plumage and you have controlled the harsh light pretty well. Excellent POV and a precise DOF. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-11-27 9:36]

Hi Selen.
Pictured scene is amazing. You have entered us into bird family life precisely. So touching intimate scene. Very impressive shadows and excellent DOF. True art picture. Bravo.

Dear Selen
Excellent shot of these Flightless Cormorants,
Perfect pose,exposure and focusing,
Superb shot,Welldone.

Good Luck

Hello selen, Excellent shot of the flightless Cormorants, perfect pose,exposure and focusing spot on, all the best, Cheers Rick :)

Hi Selen,
A sensational picture!
Very good nuance and excellent sharpness.
Nice composition; a moment to perpetuate!
José Roberto

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-11-28 5:01]

Hello Selen, that's a beautiful moment. The composition is great and the technical qualities are very high ! Thanks,


Hi Selen, Cute stuff :)
This scene is "priceless" as they say :)
Sorry for the short version,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-11-28 10:59]

Hello Selen,
Very beautiful photo. The blue eye is very special in the overall colours. Great BG. Fantastic sharpness and details. Good focus and DOF.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-11-28 12:28]

Hello Selen

Excellent focus and details the plumage is wonderful.
The lighting is well handled and the colours are rich and vibrant.The eye is amazing.
Well composed in the frame.
The POV is really good,you got very close.
Nicely done.


çok güzel bir yakın çekim olmuş Selen hanım. netliğinden, kadraja, zamanlamadan açıya herşey yerli yerinde. elinize sağlık. selamlar.

Hello Selen,
A very nice couple!
You capture well the fine interaction between the two...
Good details in the feather coats, and the cool couple is presented in a well balanced composition!
Pablo -

hello selen, lovely capture with a lovely title, your timing is perfect to shoot this moment, liked the pov and the composition, good details,
well done,
tfs & rergards

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-11-29 7:16]

Hello Selen,
Great that you posted a shot of the Flightless Cormorant, a rare but famous bird that I hope does not go the way of other endemic flightless birds like the Dodo.
Superb pose and composition of this pair. The sharpness and POV are excellent together with perfect exposure in difficult lighting.
Well done and thanks for sharing this as well as your kind comments on my 300th!

Hello Selen,
Was thinking about Clapton's song...
"It was you who put the clouds around me.
It was you who broke my heart in pieces.
It was you who made my blue eyes blue.
Who Oh - Never should have trusted you."
Well done

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