Cormorant, a seabird that pursues and catches fish under water. When the cormorant catches sight of its prey, it dives swiftly into the water. The bird uses its webbed feet and strong wings to propel itself beneath the surface. Chinese fishermen use tame cormorants to catch fish for them. A band fitted around the bird's neck prevents it from swallowing a whole fish, but it can eat small pieces tossed to it by the fisherman.
The cormorant reaches a length of about 30 inches (76 cm). The bird has a long neck, a wedge-shaped tail, and a slender, hooked beak. It is dark-colored with a patch of bare skin around the throat.The cormorant has a long neck, a wedge-shaped tail, and a slender, hooked beak.
Five of the 25 species of cormorants are found in the United States. The common American species is the double-crested cormorant. It is found along the New England coast and near large inland lakes. Another species, the European cormorant, has lustrous black plumage. It lives in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Other species are in nearly every part of the world except the central Pacific region.
Cormorants make up the family Phalacrocoracidae. The double-crested cormorant is Phalacrocorax auritus ; the European, P. carbo.