Cormorants are members of the pelican family.

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Daily Life

Cormorants swimming © Charles Lam CC BY-SA 2.0Cormorants are strong fliers, flying rather like a goose, with neck stretched out, head held up and rapid wing beats. They can soar in air currents, but usually fly low over the water.

Cormorant drying wings © Tony Hisgett CC BY 2.0Cormorants are often seen perching on a rock or jetty with their wings outstretched. It is often assumed that a bird in this posture is drying its wings because they are not well waterproofed. However, this would be surprising in a bird which spends so much time in the water and it can be seen holding its wings open in the pouring rain! A more likely explanation for this habit is that it keeps a group of birds spaced out. When a bird lands, it extends its wings so that the birds nearby shift away; when it folds its wings the line of birds is well-spaced with a wingspan between each one. Being spaced out is also an advantage when taking off in a hurry.

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