These prehistoric-looking birds are highly efficient fishermen. Cormorants have become an increasingly common sight along inland lakes, reservoirs and rivers in the UK.

Adult cormorant Cormorant

The last 30 years have seen a substantial increase in the total number of cormorants found on UK coasts and estuaries.

It's also now widely acknowledged that large numbers of cormorants, naturally coastal-breeding seabirds, are establishing colonies across the south west, Midlands and East Anglia. This is good news for inland birdwatchers, but anglers are concerned that the cormorants' exceptional fishing ability will finish off already depleted fish stocks.

Reptilian appearance

Cormorants are surprisingly large birds. Some say that their long necks and hooked bills give them a primitive, almost reptilian, appearance. This is enhanced by the fact that they are commonly seen standing atop rocks, posts or trees with their wings out-stretched.

The cormorants' oily plumage is only partially waterproof and after diving for fish, they effectively have to hang out their wings to dry.

Last date edited: 12 November 2020