Today, I would like to take a closer look into the elusive shorebird found on the coast of San Diego, Brandt’s Cormorant. This seabird, the largest cormorant species, is located only on North America’s Pacific Coast and feeds on the California Current. La Jolla is the best place to see Brandt’s Cormorants up close. I just happened to be in the area at the end of January this year and was pleasantly surprised to see a baby cormorant and two eggs!
The Brandt’s Cormorant is strictly marine but is known to enter San Diego Bay. It is fascinating that it does not enter Mission Bay or any of San Diego’s coastal lagoons. Their main colonies are on The Channel Islands of Southern California and Mexico’s Los Coronados Islands.
Let’s take a closer look at the Brandt’s Cormorant, shall we?
Brandt’s Cormorants Characteristics
The Brandt’s Cormorant is a large, heavy-bodied, oval-shaped shorebird with a slender neck and hooked beak. The breeding adults are black with a purple sheen, have brilliant turquoise eyes, a very bright blue (gular pouch) throat patch, which fades after the breeding seasons, and whiskery white feathers on the head, neck, and shoulders.
Nonbreeding birds are entirely black, and the juveniles are dark brownish with a fluffy plume around the neck.