A Rare Sighting: The Great Cormorant

Bird Island is renowned for the number of non-resident birds that appear in its approximately 100 hectares of land. This might be because Bird is the northernmost island of Seychelles, and thus possibly the first land seen by birds arriving from the north.

On 9th April 2018, a cormorant was discovered on the island’s east coast. It was then seen again on 17th April. On 11th June, British tourists Philip and Helen Lymbery went to the island’s east coast to photograph the sunrise when they saw the bird sitting on a rock inside the reef at low tide. At breakfast they told Chris Feare and Christine Larose, visiting researchers to the island, about their finding and the researchers went looking for the bird. The tide was rising and by this time few rocks remained exposed. Before long, the bird flew by and settled on a small fishing boat moored inside the lagoon. There, it concentrated on preening itself and was far more concerned with this activity than interference from birdwatchers. As a result, it allowed close approach and posed for photographs.

Although there have been a few records of smaller Reed Cormorants in Seychelles, mainly on the southern atoll of Aldabra, their larger cousin has previously been recorded only once in the archipelago, on Cousin Island in 1993. The Bird Island individual was moulting its wing and tail feathers and may have been reluctant to attempt long-distance flight.

The record of this bird has been reported to the Seychelles Bird Records Committee.

Great Cormorant perched on boat at Bird Island Seychelles by Chris Feare
September 3, 2018 12:00 am

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