Okefenokee’s Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant standing on driftwood in the Okefenokee Swamp. November 14, 2021; Suwannee River Sill Recreation Area Dam in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia ©williamwisephoto.com

The Double-crested Cormorant is a strange looking bird. Cornell’s website www.allaboutbirds.org states, “They look like a combination of a goose and a loon.” They are quite common throughout the Okefenokee Swamp and I’ve seen them on every visit, and within every type of habitat within the swamp.

Like the Anhinga, the Double-Crested Cormorant does not have oil glands like the ducks. Instead of floating on the surface, it is able to dive and swim underwater for long periods of time and, as I have seen myself, for some good distances. I have sat and waited for a Cormorant to resurface for a photograph, only to have it pop up many yards away. Nannopterum auritum’s main staple is fish. Since it lacks the buoyancy made possible by the oil glands, it often swims the surface with just its head out of the water. Once it is done fishing, it perches nearby, often with its wings spread in order to dry out.

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