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GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo )
Biodiversity > Birds > Rare visitors and vagrants

Great cormorant

Rare regular visitor. At least two seen by E.L. Hyem in November and December 1952; 30 seen by Max Nicholls in January 1953; several seen by D.G. Morgan in December 1955; two seen by L.W. O’Connor and John McKean in November 1959; one seen by T.W. Pescott in March 1960 (McKean & Hindwood 1965).

Seen by John Waugh in early November 1975 (NSWBA data). Seen several times in 1977, including a maximum of 40 in the lagoon and some at Balls Pyramid in February (Rogers & Lindsey 1978). Seen by members of HBOC tour party in February 1978 (NSWBA data). At least four seen by John Waugh in April 1978 (Lindsey 1979). Seen by Norma Maxwell in July–August 1978 (Lindsey 1979). Seen by Alan McBride in May 1985 (K.A. Hindwood Bird Recording Service, ML). The Great Cormorant has been recorded many times since 1990, and is seen in most years.

Although Hutton (1991) only classed the Great Cormorant as a rare visitor to Lord Howe Island, the records show that it is now a regular visitor. It breeds in both mainland NSW and New Zealand and does not undertake any regular migration. However, there is some long-distance dispersal and it has been noted moving in both directions across the Tasman Sea. A bird banded in New Zealand was recovered on Lord Howe Island and a bird banded at Menindee, in mainland NSW, was found in New Zealand (Heather & Robertson 1996; Anon. 1983). It has also been recorded at Norfolk Island, as well as in the mid-Tasman Sea (Sibson 1978, 1979; Moore 1999). This suggests that it may often fly between Australia and New Zealand. Records from Lord Howe Island are mainly in the warmer months, but there are late winter records from 1978 and 2001 (Lindsey 1979; Hutton; M. Burgmann, NSWBA data).

In December 2010 two were seen around the island, by October 2012 the number had grown to five and have stayed on until December 2012 (Hutton and others). They roost on the shingle bank at North Beach, Far Rocks, Mosely Park swamp, Middle Beach, off Soldiers creek or Noddy islet; also seen at Ball's Pyramid. 


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