Flightless Cormorant - Behavior - Breeding


Nesting tends to take place during the coldest months (July–October), when marine food is at its most abundant and the risk of heat stress to the chicks is decreased. At this time, breeding colonies consisting of around 12 pairs form. The courtship behaviour of this species begins in the sea; the male and female swim around each other with their necks bent into a snake-like position. They then move onto land. The bulky seaweed nest, located just above the high-tide mark, is augmented with "gifts" including pieces of flotsam such as rope and bottle caps, which are presented to the female by the male.

The female generally lays three whitish eggs per clutch, though usually only one chick survives. Both male and female share in incubation. Once the eggs have hatched, both parents continue to share responsibilities of feeding and brooding (protecting the chicks from exposure to heat and cold), but once the chicks are old enough to be independent, and if food supplies are plentiful, the female will leave the male to carry out further parenting, and she will leave to find a new mate. Females can breed three times in a single year. Thus, although their population size is small, Flightless Cormorants can recover fairly quickly from environmental disasters.

Read more about this topic:  Flightless Cormorant, Behavior

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