email a friend
printable version
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 24,600,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 24,600,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Increasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11.3 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.1,400,000-2,900,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: >c.1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and >c.1,000 wintering individuals in Korea; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and >c.10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and possibly c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The overall population trend is increasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant increase over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan Native Extant Yes    
Albania Native Extant     Yes
Algeria Native Extant      
Angola Native Extant      
Armenia Native Extant      
Australia Native Extant Yes    
Austria Native Extant      
Azerbaijan Native Extant     Yes
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes  
Bangladesh Native Extant      
Belarus Native Extant      
Belgium Native Extant     Yes
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant      
Bhutan Native Extant      
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant      
Botswana Native Extant      
Brunei Native Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant     Yes
Burkina Faso Native Extant      
Burundi Native Extant      
Cambodia Native Extant      
Cameroon Native Extant      
Canada Native Extant Yes    
Cape Verde Vagrant Extant      
Chad Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Christmas Island (to Australia) Vagrant Extant      
Congo Native Extant      
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant      
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant      
Croatia Native Extant      
Cyprus Native Extant   Yes Yes
Czech Republic Native Extant      
Denmark Native Extant     Yes
Egypt Native Extant      
Eritrea Native Extant      
Estonia Native Extant     Yes
Ethiopia Native Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant   Yes  
Finland Native Extant     Yes
France Native Extant     Yes
Gabon Native Extant      
Gambia Native Extant      
Georgia Native Extant      
Germany Native Extant     Yes
Ghana Native Extant      
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes  
Greece Native Extant     Yes
Greenland (to Denmark) Native Extant      
Guam (to USA) Unknown Extant      
Guinea Native Extant      
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant      
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant      
Hungary Native Extant     Yes
Iceland Native Extant      
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes
Iraq Native Extant   Yes Yes
Ireland Native Extant      
Israel Native Extant   Yes  
Italy Native Extant      
Japan Native Extant      
Jordan Native Extant   Yes Yes
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes    
Kenya Native Extant      
Kuwait Native Extant   Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant Yes    
Laos Native Extant      
Latvia Native Extant     Yes
Lebanon Native Extant   Yes Yes
Lesotho Native Extant      
Liberia Vagrant Extant      
Libya Native Extant      
Liechtenstein Vagrant Extant      
Lithuania Native Extant     Yes
Luxembourg Native Extant      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant      
Malawi Native Extant      
Malaysia Native Extant      
Malta Native Extant   Yes  
Mauritania Native Extant Yes    
Micronesia, Federated States of Vagrant Extant      
Moldova Native Extant      
Mongolia Native Extant Yes    
Montenegro Native Extant      
Morocco Native Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Namibia Native Extant      
Nepal Native Extant      
Netherlands Native Extant      
New Caledonia (to France) Native Extant Yes    
New Zealand Native Extant Yes    
Nigeria Native Extant      
Norfolk Island (to Australia) Vagrant Extant      
North Korea Native Extant      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant      
Norway Native Extant      
Oman Native Extant   Yes  
Pakistan Native Extant      
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant   Yes  
Papua New Guinea Vagrant Extant      
Philippines Native Extant      
Poland Native Extant     Yes
Portugal Native Extant   Yes  
Qatar Native Extant   Yes  
Romania Native Extant     Yes
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes   Yes
Russia (European) Native Extant     Yes
Rwanda Native Extant      
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes  
Senegal Native Extant      
Serbia Native Extant      
Seychelles Vagrant Extant      
Singapore Introduced Extant      
Slovakia Native Extant     Yes
Slovenia Native Extant   Yes  
Solomon Islands Native Extant Yes    
Somalia Native Extant      
South Africa Native Extant      
South Korea Native Extant      
South Sudan Native Extant Yes    
Spain Native Extant      
Sri Lanka Native Extant      
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant      
Sudan Native Extant      
Swaziland Native Extant      
Sweden Native Extant     Yes
Switzerland Native Extant      
Syria Native Extant   Yes Yes
Taiwan (China) Native Extant   Yes  
Tajikistan Native Extant      
Tanzania Native Extant Yes    
Thailand Native Extant      
Tunisia Native Extant   Yes  
Turkey Native Extant      
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes    
Uganda Native Extant Yes    
Ukraine Native Extant     Yes
United Arab Emirates Native Extant   Yes  
United Kingdom Native Extant      
USA Native Extant Yes    
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes    
Vietnam Native Extant      
Western Sahara Native Extant Yes    
Yemen Native Extant   Yes  
Zambia Native Extant      
Zimbabwe Native Extant      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Albania Drini Delta site factsheet
Albania Karavasta Lagoon site factsheet
Albania Lake Shkodra (Lake Scadar) site factsheet
Australia Lakes Alexandrina and Albert site factsheet
Azerbaijan Sangachal Bay site factsheet
Azerbaijan Shahdidi spit site factsheet
Bulgaria Burgasko Lake site factsheet
Bulgaria Gorni Dabnik-Telish Reservoir site factsheet
Bulgaria Island near Gorni Tzibar site factsheet
Bulgaria Mandra-Poda complex site factsheet
Bulgaria Maritsa-Plovdiv site factsheet
Bulgaria Mechka Fish-ponds site factsheet
Bulgaria Ovtcharitsa Reservoir site factsheet
Bulgaria Pozharevo Island site factsheet
Bulgaria Rozov Kladenets Reservoir site factsheet
Bulgaria Vardim Island site factsheet
Bulgaria Varna-Beloslav Lakes Complex site factsheet
Canada Basque Islands and Michaud Point site factsheet
Canada Bird Islands site factsheet
Canada Falaise aux Goélands and pointe de l’Est site factsheet
Canada Harbour Rocks site factsheet
Canada Île Brion site factsheet
Canada Île du Lac site factsheet
Canada Île Shag site factsheet
Canada Îles Sainte-Marie site factsheet
Canada Ingonish Island site factsheet
Canada Margaree Island site factsheet
Canada Northern Head and South Head site factsheet
Canada Portnova Islands site factsheet
Canada Rocher Le Corps Mort site factsheet
Canada Rocks off Fourchu Head site factsheet
Canada The Capes site factsheet
China (mainland) Aksu River basin site factsheet
China (mainland) Bachu Oasis site factsheet
China (mainland) Barkol Lake and grassland site factsheet
China (mainland) Bayanbulak and Kaidu River Valley site factsheet
China (mainland) Bosten Lake site factsheet
China (mainland) Burqin River and Kanas Lake site factsheet
China (mainland) Desert and wetland from Northern Urumqi to Dabancheng site factsheet
China (mainland) Ebi Nur and Kuytun River site factsheet
China (mainland) Hotan Oasis site factsheet
China (mainland) Lower reaches of Tarim River site factsheet
China (mainland) Markit-Yarkant Oasis site factsheet
China (mainland) Oasis, Desert and Wetland at Mosuowan site factsheet
China (mainland) Qiemo Oasis and Qarqan River site factsheet
China (mainland) Qinghai Hu (Koko Nor) site factsheet
China (mainland) Sanjiang Nature Reserve site factsheet
China (mainland) Tarim Euphrates Poplar Forest Nature Reserve site factsheet
China (mainland) Ulungur Hu and Jili Hu (Fu Hai) site factsheet
China (mainland) Xayar forest and wetland site factsheet
China (mainland) Xingkai Hu Nature Reserve site factsheet
Croatia Alluvial wetlands of the River Drava site factsheet
Croatia Donji Miholjac fish-ponds site factsheet
Denmark Horsens Fjord, Svanegrunden & Endelave site factsheet
Denmark Hovvig site factsheet
Denmark Hyllekrog-Rødsand and Fehmarn Belt site factsheet
Denmark Lille Vildmose site factsheet
Denmark Maribo lakes site factsheet
Denmark Nærå Coast and Æbelø area site factsheet
Denmark Nissum Fjord site factsheet
Denmark Præstø Fjord, Ulvshale, Nyord and Jungshoved Nor site factsheet
Denmark Ringkøbing Fjord site factsheet
Denmark Smålandsfarvandet site factsheet
Denmark Stavnsfjord and adjacent waters site factsheet
Egypt El Malaha site factsheet
Egypt Lake Bardawil site factsheet
Egypt Lake Manzala site factsheet
Egypt Zaranik Protected Area site factsheet
Estonia Irbe strait site factsheet
Estonia Luitemaa site factsheet
Estonia Pärnu bay (NEW) site factsheet
Estonia Väinameri site factsheet
France Baie des Veys et Marais du Cotentin site factsheet
France Basse Vallée de la Durance site factsheet
France Camargue site factsheet
France Cap Fagnet site factsheet
France Estuaire de la Bidassoa et Baie de Fontarabie site factsheet
France Etang d'Urbino et zones humides périphériques site factsheet
France Etang de Biguglia site factsheet
France Etang de Thau site factsheet
France Etangs de Citis, Lavalduc, Engrenier, Pourra, l'Estomac, Fos et salines de Rassuen et de Fos site factsheet
France Etangs Montpellierains site factsheet
France Lac du Der-Chantecoq et étangs latéraux site factsheet
France Moyenne Vallée de la Durance site factsheet
France Petite Camargue laguno-marine site factsheet
France Val de Drôme: Les Ramières-printegarde site factsheet
France Vallée de la Loire : Orléanais site factsheet
Greece Amvrakikos gulf site factsheet
Greece Divari Pilou lagoon (Gialova) site factsheet
Greece Epanomi lagoon site factsheet
Greece Evros delta site factsheet
Greece Kalamas estuary site factsheet
Greece Lagoons of Kerkyra site factsheet
Greece Lake Amvrakia site factsheet
Greece Lake Kerkini site factsheet
Greece Lake Mikri Prespa and Lake Megali Prespa site factsheet
Greece Lake Mitrikou (Ismarida) site factsheet
Greece Lake Pamvotida (Ioanninon) site factsheet
Greece Mesolongi and Aetoliko lagoons, and Acheloos and Evinos estuaries site factsheet
Greece Nestou delta and coastal lagoons site factsheet
Greece Porto Lagos, Lake Vistonis, and coastal lagoons (Lakes of Thrace) site factsheet
Hong Kong (China) Inner Deep Bay and Shenzhen River catchment area site factsheet
Iceland Breidafjördur site factsheet
India The Chapories of Lohit Reserve site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Abbas-abad dam site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Anzali Mordab complex site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bahu Kalat (Gandu) Protected Area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bandar Kiashar lagoon and mouth of Sefid Rud site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Fereidoonkenar marshes site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Gomishan marshes and Turkoman steppes site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hilleh Protected Area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Monde Protected Area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of South Caspian shore, from Astara to Gomishan site factsheet
Iraq Bahr Al Milh site factsheet
Israel Hefer valley site factsheet
Israel Jezre'el, Harod and Bet She'an valleys site factsheet
Israel Lake Kinneret and Kinerot site factsheet
Italy Litorale Romano site factsheet
Japan Inner Tokyo bay site factsheet
Japan Unoyama site factsheet
Kazakhstan Amangeldy site factsheet
Kazakhstan Cherniy (Black) Irtysh Delta site factsheet
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve site factsheet
Kazakhstan Lesser Aral Sea site factsheet
Kenya Masinga reservoir site factsheet
Latvia Irbe strait site factsheet
Lithuania Lithuanian part of the Curonian Spit site factsheet
Lithuania The northern part of the Curonian Lagoon site factsheet
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli site factsheet
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park site factsheet
Mongolia Boon Tsagaan Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Buir Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Khar Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Khar Us Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Khukh Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Mongol Daguur site factsheet
Mongolia Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Tolbo Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Uvs Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Zavkhan River - Ereen Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Zavkhan River - Ereen Lake site factsheet
Myanmar Ayeyarwady River: Myitkyina to Sinbo Section site factsheet
Netherlands De Wieden site factsheet
Netherlands Grevelingen site factsheet
Netherlands Lake IJsselmeer site factsheet
Netherlands Lepelaarplassen site factsheet
Netherlands Naardermeer site factsheet
Netherlands Oostvaardersplassen site factsheet
Netherlands Steile Bank and Mokkebank site factsheet
Netherlands Voornes Duin site factsheet
Netherlands Wadden Sea site factsheet
Norway Froan site factsheet
Norway Kongsøy site factsheet
Norway Omgangsstauran site factsheet
Norway Ørland wetland system site factsheet
Norway Vega archipelago site factsheet
Oman Barr al Hikman site factsheet
Pakistan Haleji Wildlife Sanctuary site factsheet
Pakistan Jiwani Beaches and Dasht Kaur site factsheet
Poland Delta of the Swina river site factsheet
Poland Puck Bay site factsheet
Poland Szczecin lagoon site factsheet
Poland Vistula Lagoon site factsheet
Portugal Sado estuary site factsheet
Romania Bistreţ site factsheet
Romania Black Sea site factsheet
Romania Blahniţa site factsheet
Romania Buhuşu reservoir - Bacău - Tătărăşti site factsheet
Romania Danube Delta site factsheet
Romania Gruia - Gârla Mare site factsheet
Romania Ilfov reservoir site factsheet
Romania Olt valley site factsheet
Romania Vedea - Dunăre site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Tere-Khol' lake site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Bol'shoye Beloe lake site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Dzhulukul' depression site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Tundrovo lake site factsheet
Russia (European) Agrakhanski Bay (North Agrakhan) site factsheet
Russia (European) Chechen' Island and east seaside of Agrakhan peninsula site factsheet
Russia (European) Dadynskiye lakes site factsheet
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don site factsheet
Russia (European) Dolgy Reef and Bol'shoi Fiskar archipelagos site factsheet
Russia (European) Khanskoye Lake site factsheet
Russia (European) Kiziltash limans site factsheet
Russia (European) Lake 'Southern Agrakhan' site factsheet
Russia (European) Maly Zhemchuzhny island site factsheet
Russia (European) Neman river Delta and the coast of the Curonian (Courish) Bay site factsheet
Russia (European) Taman' site factsheet
Russia (European) Tyuleni island site factsheet
Russia (European) Yeiski salt-lakes site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Abu Ali site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Tarut Bay site factsheet
Spain Albufera de Valencia marshes site factsheet
Spain Cádiz bay site factsheet
Spain Cíes islands site factsheet
Spain Ebro delta site factsheet
Spain Rosarito and Navalcán reservoirs-La Iglesuela (Tietar valley) site factsheet
Switzerland Lake Geneva: Grangettes site factsheet
Taiwan (China) Aogu Wetlands site factsheet
Taiwan (China) Fengshan Reservoir site factsheet
Taiwan (China) Kaoping River site factsheet
Taiwan (China) Kinmen National Park site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Victoria: Bumbire Islands site factsheet
Tanzania Rubondo Island National Park site factsheet
Tunisia Bibane site factsheet
Tunisia Boughrara site factsheet
Tunisia Gourine site factsheet
Tunisia Kerkennah islands site factsheet
Tunisia Lake Tunis (Lake Radès) site factsheet
Turkey Bafa Lake site factsheet
Turkey Bosphorus site factsheet
Turkey Büyük Menderes Delta site factsheet
Turkey Gediz Delta site factsheet
Turkey Karkamış site factsheet
Turkey Köyceğiz Lake site factsheet
Turkey Kozlu coast site factsheet
Turkey Küçükçekmece Basin site factsheet
Turkey Manyas Lake (Kuş Lake) site factsheet
Turkey Marmara Lake site factsheet
Turkey Meriç Delta site factsheet
Turkey Yedikır Reservoir site factsheet
Turkmenistan Deryatakyr site factsheet
Turkmenistan Ekerem - Esenguly site factsheet
Turkmenistan Gorelde site factsheet
Turkmenistan Khankhovuz site factsheet
Turkmenistan Kopetdagkhovudan site factsheet
Turkmenistan Mergen site factsheet
Turkmenistan Sarygamysh site factsheet
Uganda Lutoboka point (Ssese islands) site factsheet
Ukraine Berdyans'ka peninsula site factsheet
Ukraine Cape Martiyan site factsheet
Ukraine Dnipro delta site factsheet
Ukraine Dnister delta site factsheet
Ukraine Kakhovs'ke reservoir (Energodar) site factsheet
Ukraine Kakhovs'ke reservoir (Vasylivka village) site factsheet
Ukraine Karkinits'ka and Dzharylgats'ka bays site factsheet
Ukraine Kazantip Cape, Aktash lake and Astanins'ka marsh site factsheet
Ukraine Kinburns'kyj peninsula site factsheet
Ukraine Molochnyj Liman site factsheet
Ukraine Obytichna peninsula site factsheet
Ukraine Syvash Bay site factsheet
Ukraine Yagorlyts'ka and Tendrivs'ka Bays site factsheet
United Kingdom Carlingford Lough site factsheet
United Kingdom Mochrum and Castle Lochs site factsheet
United Kingdom Sheep Island site factsheet
United Kingdom Traeth Lafan, Conwy Bay site factsheet
United Kingdom Ynys Seiriol/Puffin Island site factsheet
Uzbekistan Aktepe Reservoir and Three Lakes site factsheet
Uzbekistan Amudarya floodlands near Termez site factsheet
Uzbekistan Balykchi Fish Farm site factsheet
Uzbekistan Chimkurgan Reservoir site factsheet
Uzbekistan Dalverzin State Forestry and Hunting Management Area site factsheet
Uzbekistan Dzheiran Ecocentre site factsheet
Uzbekistan Karakyr Lakes site factsheet
Uzbekistan Karnabchul Steppe site factsheet
Uzbekistan Kattakurgan Reservoir site factsheet
Uzbekistan Northern shore of Aydarkul Lake site factsheet
Uzbekistan Sudochye Lake site factsheet
Uzbekistan Tudakul and Kuymazar Reservoirs site factsheet
Uzbekistan Tuyabuguz Reservoir site factsheet
Uzbekistan Tuzkan Lake site factsheet
Uzbekistan Zholdyrbas Lake site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Historical
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Phalacrocorax carbo. Downloaded from on 18/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 18/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 24,600,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Climate change species distributions