Flightless Cormorant (18)
|As far as I can see this will be the first flightless cormorant photo in Trek Nature- the endemic flightless cormorant resting on the nest on Fernandina Island. Please check the workshop version for a detail of the wing.|
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. İt 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 Time: 1/80
ISO Speed Ratings: 400
Focal Length: 400/1 mm
Date Taken: 2007-04-27
Metering Mode: Partial