The Cormorant of Shark Bay

Four species of cormorant (Wanamalu as they are called by the Aboriginal people) occur in the Shark Bay, the most common being the pied cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) with its yellow, blue and pink bare facial skin and the little pied cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos), whose face lacks this colour.

The pied cormorant's wings are not waterproof, an adaptation that allows them to sink underwater to hunt.
They are often seen with their wings spread out to dry.

Cormorant are well adapted to their watery world.
They feed mainly on fish, captured by underwater pursuit.
Their large webbed feet, set well back on their body, serve as propellers, while their stiff rudder-like tail provides steering.

Transparent membranes protect their eyes from the sting of salt water. Cormorant use their excellent underwater vision and their strong swimming ability to pursue their prey.
Once a fish is caught they return to the surface, juggling their meal into position to avoid any spiny fins, and then swallow it headfirst.

 

 

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Last updated: Friday, 04.06.2010 12:12 PM