Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water


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

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.

Family nature guide 2019

Download your free nature guide

Identify footprints and read fascinating facts about the creatures who make their homes along our canals and rivers

Last Edited: 12 November 2020

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration