WI - Cormorant Research Group Scientific Literature Great cormorant

Grémillet D., R. P. Wilson, Wanless S. Peters G. 1999.
A tropical bird in the Arctic (the cormorant paradox).
Marine Ecology Progress Series, 188: 305-309.

ABSTRACT: Seabirds, like all marine endotherms, have to compensate for the extensive cooling effect of water when diving. Alone among them, cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae) have a wettable plumage and are predicted to require disproportionately large amounts of food to balance heat losses. These piscivorous birds are thus thought to have a detrimental impact on fish stocks. However, we show here that even in great cormorants from Greenland, which dive in water at 3 to 7'C, daily food intake is lower than for well-insulated European seabirds. Despite their wettable plumage, cormorants thus appear to manage their energy budgets in a remarkably efficient way. Nevertheless, the specific foraging strategies which enable this performance make cormorants dependent on high prey density areas, a feature that should be taken into account by future management plan.

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