Pygmy Cormorant


The Pygmy Cormorant, Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, is a seabird, a member of the cormorant family. The Pygmy Cormorant is a globally threatened species. It is endangered due to the drainage and serious degradation of wetlands and their associated woodland, water pollution, disturbance, and the illegal hunting and drowning of many Pygmy Cormorants in nets.

The Pygmy Cormorant breeds patchily in southern and south-eastern Europe (75% of its global breeding range), with its European breeding population estimated at less than 39,000 pairs. The biggest colony is in the Danube Delta, numbering 4,000 pairs.

The Pygmy Cormorant breeds colonially in wetlands with still or slowly flowing fresh water in coastal deltas and well-vegetated freshwater lakes. It builds a nest of grass and twigs in a low tree or reedbed, into which it lays its 3-6 eggs. It feeds mainly on fish, often hunting in groups, and perches in trees between fishing expeditions.

This species is distinguished from the Great Cormorant and the Common Shag by its much smaller size, lighter build, and long tail.

The species receives some protection within the Danube Delta’s biosphere reserve, but is not protected throughout the rest of its range along the Lower Danube. It uses the inland wetlands for breeding, feeding and wintering, and is dependent on the conservation of this natural habitat.

The maintenance and restoration of wetlands along the Lower Danube are of vital importance for the breeding populations of the Pygmy Cormorant.


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Location: Bulgaria


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pygmy cormorant | Danube Delta | Lower Danube