Differentiating Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants

Bert Frenz, 1998

NeCo02.JPG (6127 bytes)In the Brazos Valley, Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants occupy the same habitat and often appear together in flight or side-by-side on the same perch. Yet differentiating the two species is a birding challenge. In general, Double-crested is more common than Neotropic, but this hardly a safe assumption. In fact, there are probably many more Neotropic Cormorants afield than we take the time to identify. Good birding spots to see both species are: Lake Bryan, Lake Somerville and Gibbons Creek Reservoir.


Double-crested Cormorant Neotropic Cormorant
Facial pouch edge perpendicular to neck triangular, pointing toward neck
Facial pouch edging none, or partial white white edges along triangle (adult)
Facial pouch color yellow orange yellow brown
Relative size large distinctly smaller when side-by-side
Appearance heavy bodied slim bodied
Tail short length medium length
Flight regular steady wing beats faster wing beat
Neck in flight sagging, appears thicker straight, appears thinner

                                 DCCo01.JPG (5729 bytes)         NeCo03.JPG (5194 bytes)