The breeding plumage of the iridescent black Pelagic Cormorant includes two short crests, one on top of the head and one on the nape, flashes of white thigh and a patch of magenta below the eye. In breeding season, this cormorant is very similar to the Red-faced Cormorant. Cormorants such as this, locate their prey, then dive underwater to the depth of sometimes 100 feet, propelling themselves with webbed feet, steering with their wings.
The female is identical in appearance, only smaller.
Immature Pelagics are dark brown and slightly lighter underneath.
This cormorant breeds on rocky shores and islands, such as the Aleutians, in the Pacific Northwest.
Population and distribution.
This marine bird's name is misleading, as the Pelagic Cormorant really prefers bays and inlets to open sea. They can be found all along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to the Baja Peninsula.
Once the Pelagic Cormorant decides on a site, it will return to the same nest year after, improving and enlarging it, sometimes to five feet in depth. It is built on the face of a cliff and made of plants, grass and seaweed, held together by the cormorant's own guano.