23 Jan 2012

Cormorants behaving Badly

Several thousand Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) winter in Hong Kong every year.  

They gather in noisy, quarrelsome groups and hunt for fish en masse.  They are the Millwall F C supporters of the bird world: -

"Nobody Loves Us, We Don't Care ! "

Even when the fishing is good they fight among themselves.  A small fish can be quickly swallowed but if a cormorant hesitates for a moment - especially when the fish is too large to swallow - there is a wet tussle for the prize.  

These photos, I hope, convey some of the fun-and-games to be seen on an otherwise dull day at Nam Sang Wai.

A  new winner emerges triumphantly from the depths....

…but can he keep the fish ?

It looks like he can !

A Very Happy "Year of the Dragon" to everyone !


  1. My god............the size of that fish!

  2. What a spectacle! Great shots by the way.

  3. Thanks for the comments.....actually the fish at the top really WAS too big for the Cormorants, but they got that that second one down in the end !

    We'll be beyond the each of blogger for three weeks or so from today.

  4. Splendid storyline. Millwall supporters will feel very proud.

  5. Wow that bird could finish up the fish! Can't believe it could swallow the whole fish down its throat.
    Over here, the cormorants wouldn't give such an opportunity to photograph them in close range like that.

  6. Great photos as always John! I think I saw E5 at Mai Po in Jan - your photos took me right back to the boardwalk hide! And I do love those Cormorants!

  7. Excellent photographs! They're really worth watching when you see action like this.
    Also thanks for you comment on my blog a while back about Common Buzzard in Japan now known as Eastern Buzzard. -I have updated that post and read up about it. So a big thanks.

    Must go out now and check the cormorants nearby!

  8. Thanks to all for the comments....

    We got got back from Yunnan yesterday, 332 species at last count even without any spring migrants.

  9. Hi John,

    332 species is a lot! Sure you had a really good trip. Wait to see your new photos!
    Now my former google account has been disabled for some unknown reason, so I decided to start a new blog. I'm still trying to bring back the old one, but I'll move on with the new one in the meantime.
    Sorry for the inconvenience.


  10. Great action shots John and my word; what a fish to try to get down your neck!

  11. Ayuwat, I'm "following" your new blog.... great stuff.

    Christian, actually I think the first photo is a bigger, different fish to the one being fought over in the later shots... but those crazy Cormorants took a while to find that out !