Common Name: Double-Crested Cormorant
Scientific Name: Nannopterum auritum
Order/Family: Suliformes/Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants)
Subspecies: There are 5 subspecies, the nominate Nannopterum auritum auritium is the one found around Las Vegas.
Description: This species has dark-colored plumage with bare supra-loreal skin and gular skin that is yellow or orange. An adult in breeding plumage will be mostly black with the back and coverts being a dark grayish towards the center. Nuptial crests, for which the species is named, are either white, black or a mix of the two. These are located just above the eyes with the bare skin on the face of a breeding adult being orange. A non-breeding adult will lack the crests and have more yellowish skin around the face. The bill of the adult is dark-colored.
Distribution: It ranges from the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains east into central and eastern North America. This region includes the Canadian prairies and the Great Lakes.
Habitat: A very common and widespread species, it winters anywhere that is ice-free along both coasts. Food can be found in the sea, freshwater lakes, and rivers.
The double-crested cormorant swims low in the water, often with just its neck and head visible, and dives from the surface.
After diving, it spends long periods standing with its wings outstretched to allow them to dry, since they are not fully waterproofed.
Double-crested Cormorants are larger than Neotropic. Breeding adults separated by size and shape of bare skin patch; fully surrounds the bill with a rounded border on Double-crested, but is only below the eye with a triangular border on Neotropic. Also the Neotropic has a white border around the bare skin patch.