It's Cormorant Week on iNaturalist! Jan 3 - 9

This week we're featuring a group of waterbirds known as Suliformes. This order of birds is distantly related to other waterbirds such as herons, loons, and penguins. They are made up of four distinct families:


Cormorants are the most widely encountered of the group. They are large, black, somewhat awkward looking birds often found swimming in lakes, ponds, and along coasts around the world. Cormorants catch fish by swimming after them underwater. Their feathers lack oil which allows them to sink, but prevents them from flying while wet. As a result, they are often seen perched with wings spread to dry.


Anhingas, sometimes called swamp-turkeys, resemble cormorants but have thiner, snakelike necks. They are confined to freshwater in tropical and near tropical climates such as the swamps of South East North America. When not swimming, they are usually found perched in trees.

Gannets and Boobies

Gannets and boobies are ocean birds. Gannets prefer colder waters while their warm water counterparts the Boobies are confined to the tropics. Both are usually seen flying over seas in search of food unless you visit the small rocky islands where they nest. They resemble sleeker, shorter necked cormorants. From the air, they dive-bomb into water like living spears after fish and squid.


Frigatebirds are also found flying over tropical oceans. Their extremely long pointed wings allow them to spend nearly all of their time in the air. While they also eat fish and squid, frigatebirds steal food caught by other birds like boobies by harassing them in the air until they relinquish their catches. Like Boobies, you're much more likely to see Frigatebirds in the air unless you visit their nesting colonies.

If you think you see any of these this week, share your observations with us. We’ll be keeping track here. Happy Suliforme hunting!

Posted by loarie loarie, January 05, 2016 08:47


Hello iNat birders, first i am no bird watcher at all, have never begun and taking photos of birds is apparently something one needs to be experienced.
Just get aware this project is about cormorants and relatives, hence my short report of yesterday's observation.
Visiting newly opened water power station in Frohnleiten, Styria at river Mur, i saw some flying cormorants (black, don't know about spp. and races).
Hearing two loud gun bangs i immediately thought about the reason for.
When reaching the street i saw the "sympathic guy", some (hobby?-) fisherman with gun to keep the hated rivals from his fishing area.
As i asked him if he was a fisherman, he shortly agreed and hurried away by car.
Just liked to tell that all fish feeding animals are in troubles here, anything is owned Homo destruens!!
Maybe i'll try to image some birds in future, who knows?

All the best and joy with project

Posted by erwin_pteridophilos over 5 years ago (Flag)

Love the concept of "critter week" -- I'm going to try to snag an observation of each one! Great job. :)

Posted by sambiology over 5 years ago (Flag)

ooh, this is awesome. I love it. Please don't neglect plants though (at least in the next few years)

People dislike cormorants in Vermont too, and there i an effort to control their population. The story is they are overpopulated or even invasive and eat too many fish. I don't really know the full story behind it, so I don't know if I agree or not.

I saw some Anhingas in Costa Rica last april... truly strange and wonderful creatures.

edit: i just saw there are plants. woo hoo!

Posted by charlie over 5 years ago (Flag)

This is very exciting! I'm thrilled to see this and excited to see how many I get!

Posted by carrieseltzer over 5 years ago (Flag)
Posted by sambiology over 5 years ago (Flag)

I love the cormorant graphics used in this post! They are really great!

Posted by karinakilldeer over 5 years ago (Flag)

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